HOW VIAGRA WORKS
ANCHOR LEAD: VIAGRA’S BENEFIT FOR THE HEART WORKS THROUGH ANOTHER PROTEIN, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Sildenafil, marketed under the brand name Viagra, has been shown to help preserve beating function in a failing heart. Now Johns Hopkins researchers led by David Kass have found that the drug works by stimulating another protein found in the heart called RGS2.
KASS: Ultimately this is a story about how it’s really working, so we’ve found a key partner that explains how this might work and that key partner itself could actually be a heart failure therapy some day. That turns out to be very important partner, so there may be other ways besides Viagra to help stimulate this other partner, this RGS protein. :21
Kass describes RGS2 as a reset mechanism for blunting the effects of high blood pressure on the heart. Chronic high blood pressure causes scar tissue formation, enlargement of the heart and ultimately heart failure. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.