More and more people on the planet have recently suffered from heart failure, in addition, it is often complicated by sleep apnea, a concomitant disease that further reduces a person’s life expectancy. This threatening condition occurs when the heart muscle weakens and the brain responds by overstimulating the heart, resulting in death.
The part of the brain that sends impulses to the heart also controls breathing, which causes sleep apnea, when breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. The P2X3 chemoreceptor is thought to be responsible for this, and a new drug that New Zealand scientists have developed is able to target this receptor to treat both heart failure and sleep apnea at the same time.
When the brain overtaxes the heart, heart failure occurs.© Depositphotos
This receptor antagonist has been named AF-130 and developers have already tested it on rats with chronic heart failure. They found that the drug normalizes the body’s respiratory response to hypoxia and significantly improves the quality and quantity of blood, thereby eliminating sleep apnea.
However, more interestingly, AF-130 reduces systemic inflammation and heart weight and prevents fluid accumulation in the lungs, which improves the condition of patients with heart failure. In addition, thanks to this antagonist, scientists realized that it was receptors in the carotid arteries that were to blame for the occurrence of both diseases, which was not known before. The drug will soon be approved by the FDA and the team will start human testing.