New mouse model could speed development of effective treatments for most common form of heart failure

Researchers are reporting development of a new mouse model that could speed development of effective treatments for the most common form of heart failure.

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a deadly condition that accounts for nearly half of all hospital admissions for heart failure.  It causes the heart muscle to become too stiff to pump blood efficiently and is often driven by changes associated with aging, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.  The complex disorder currently lacks effective treatment options and is difficult to model in the lab. One researcher called the disorder “the greatest unmet need in cardiology.” 

That could change in the future. Researchers have developed a new mouse model for HFpEF that more closely mimics the clinical features that occur in humans with the disease than current models. The new approach combines two major risk factors for the condition—obesity with glucose intolerance and high blood pressure— into a single mouse model.  Their study, funded by NHLBI, appeared in Nature. 

 "A recognized research gap in the HFpEF field is the lack of relevant experimental models that adequately represent the progression of this complex disorder. This study is an example of how advances in HFpEF models can lead to a better understanding of the disease pathophysiology and new ideas for therapeutic strategies," said Bishow Adhikari, Ph.D., a program officer for the study and a scientist with the NHLBI.