HOW do you transform mice with damaged hearts from couch potatoes into treadmill tearaways? A compound that prompts blood to release more oxygen does the trick, raising hopes it could help people weakened by heart attacks.
Inadequate oxygen delivery to heart tissue causes many of the symptoms of heart failure, but previous attempts to rectify this have had limited success. Instead, Jean-Marie Lehn of the University of Strasbourg in France tried a new approach: getting haemoglobin in blood to release more oxygen to cells.
To do this, Lehn gave mice with heart problems a substance called myo-inositol trispyrophosphate (ITPP). Normally, haemoglobin releases only 25 per cent of its oxygen cargo, but if it binds to ITPP it releases much more, says Lehn.
Drinking ITPP dissolved in water boosted exercise levels in the mice by 35 per cent, while injecting it caused a 60 per cent rise (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812381106).
Athletes should not see ITPP as a performance enhancer, not least because it is detectable, says Lehn.
Source Citation:"Blood booster is a breath of fresh air.(Report)(Brief article)." New Scientist 201.2695 (Feb 14, 2009): 17(1). Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 5 May 2009
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