New Cause Of Cardiac Damage After Heart Attack In Type 1 Diabetes
June 13, 2012

New Cause Of Cardiac Damage After Heart Attack In Type 1 Diabetes

Study reveals new targets for diagnosis and therapy

After people with type 1 diabetes have a heart attack, their long-term chance of suffering even more heart damage skyrockets. But the reason has long puzzled scientists. Now researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have identified the misstep that sparks this runaway chronic damage and a promising way to block it.

"The problem arises from autoimmunity, a condition that people with type 1 diabetes already have ," says Myra A. Lipes, M.D, investigator in the Section on Immunology at Joslin and principal investigator of a study published in the June 13 edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

In the current work, Lipes and her team identified the factor that triggers an autoimmune response against cardiac muscle tissue following a heart attack. Furthermore, they developed a way to selectively stop it. They also showed the presence of a similar process in human patients, opening the door for possible ways to improve outcomes of patients with type 1 diabetes after myocardial infarction.

Their research focused on type 1 diabetes, for which cardiovascular disease accounts for 65