Teams of Dr Anthony Davenport, Dr Janet Maguire, Prof Nick Morrell, and Prof Robert Glen have identified the Elabela/Toddler (ELA) peptide in the human cardiovascular system. This peptide was first discovered in the zebrafish where it was found to have a vital role in the early cardiac development.
The new study shows that ELA peptide binds to apelin, a G-protein coupled receptor, in human heart, and that ELA expression is reduced in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Daily injections of ELA to replace the missing peptide attenuated the development of PAH in an animal model of this disease, suggesting that an apelin receptor agonist may have therapeutic potential in treating PAH.
The original article was published in Circulation.