Graz scientists discover that spermidine protects the heart

Many elderly people develop an increase in heart wall thickness accompanied with the loss of heart elasticity, resulting in the development of age-related heart failure with reduced quality of life, shortness of breath and effort intolerance. This form of heart failure (diastolic heart failure) has so far no effective treatment and together with increased blood pressure represents common causes of death in the western world. However, Drs. Tobias Eisenberg, Frank Madeo (University of Graz), Simon Sedej and Mahmoud Abdellatif (Medical University of Graz), in collaboration with an international team of 59 researchers from 36 universities and institutes in eight countries, were able to prove that spermidine can protect the heart from these cardiovascular diseases.
In animal models, spermidine improved heart elasticity as well as relaxation, while it reduced heart wall thickness. Therefore, the heart can relax better between consecutive beats and fill with more blood. Moreover, the researchers found that spermidine reduced arterial blood pressure, further contributing to a better cardiac function.
Together with Dr. Stefan Kiechl (Medical University of Innsbruck), the team was able to show that people consuming larger amounts of food rich in spermidine (e.g. wheat germ, mushrooms, some types of cheese, peas and nuts) are less likely to die due to heart disease and have lower blood pressure.
Current research is undertaken in the framework of BioTechMed-Graz, a cooperation venture and network of the University of Graz, the Medical University of Graz and Graz University of Technology founded with the aim of undertaking health research.

Cardioprotection and lifespan extension by the natural polyamine spermidine
Tobias Eisenberg, Mahmoud Abdellatif … Stefan Kiechl, Guido Kroemer, Simon Sedej and Frank Madeo
Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.4222

Prof. Dr. Frank Madeo
Institute of Molecular Biosciences
University of Graz
Phone: 0043 (0)316/380-8878

Dr. Simon Sedej
Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine
Medical University of Graz
Phone: 0043 (0)316/385-72742

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