Fish peptide treats cardiovascular disease

A new peptide called Elabela/Toddler (ELA), first identified in the fish Danio as critical for the development of the heart, has now been identified in the human cardiovascular system, by a team led by St Catharine’s Fellow Dr Anthony Davenport (Addenbrooke’s) in collaboration with Professor Nicolas Morrell (St Catharine’s) and the Department of Chemistry and published in Circulation.

The team showed that the peptide binds to a G-protein coupled receptor in Family A (protein targets of one third of all current medicines) and expression was reduced in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, daily injections of Ela to replace the missing peptide, attenuated the development of PAH in an animal model of this disease, suggesting a potential target for translational research.