The human body is like a state-of-the-art car, where each part must work together with all the others. When a car breaks down, most of the time the problem is not isolated to only one part, as it is an interconnected system. Diseases in the human body can also have systemic effects, so it is important to study their implications throughout the body. Most studies of heart attacks focus on the direct impact on the heart and the cardiovascular system. Learning more about how heart attacks affect rest of the body may help scientists identify heart attacks early or create improved treatments.
Arif and Klevstig et al. show that heart attacks affect the metabolism throughout the body. In the experiments, mice underwent a procedure that mimics either a heart attack or a fake procedure. Then, Arif and Klevstig et al. compared the activity of genes in the heart, muscle, liver and fat tissue of the two groups of mice 6- and 24-hours after the operations. This revealed disruptions in the immune system, metabolism and the production of proteins. The experiments also showed that changes in the activity of four important genes are key to these changes. This suggests that this pattern of changes could be used as a way to identify heart attacks.
The experiments show that heart attacks have important effects throughout the body, especially on metabolism. These discoveries may help scientists learn more about the underlying biological processes and develop new treatments that prevent the harmful systemic effects of heart attacks and boost recovery.