A new drug that could help reduce damage to the body after a heart attack, stroke or major surgery has been developed by UK scientists.
Tests in mice suggest the compound protects the heart when blood flow is restored suddenly after a period when tissue has been starved of oxygen. MitoSNO has yet to be tested on humans, but could lead to a whole new class of medicines.
The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine.
One of the problems after a heart attack is the damage caused to heart tissue when blood flow is restored suddenly after a prolonged period without oxygen. Blood flowing back into the tissues triggers production of harmful molecules, called free radicals, which are generated inside mitochondria - the powerhouses of the cell.