Leading university in Canada uses KaleidaGraph to study increasing heart failure rates

KaleidaGraph provides ‘one-stop shopping’: with a single program we can graph our data and run the required statistical analysis.

Currently over 350,000 Canadians are afflicted with heart failure. In contrast to all other cardiovascular diseases, the rates of heart failure are actually increasing. Despite significant advances in research and medicine, half of all people diagnosed with the disease will die within one year. Once considered a disease of the Western World, heart disease in general and heart failure in particular is becoming increasingly prevalent in developing countries.

In the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, researchers are studying the mechanisms of heart failure and the development of novel therapies. They are currently focusing on three major studies:

The control of myocardial function and intracellular signaling by cardiac z-discs:
Z-discs, the elements of muscle that give the tissue a ‘striped’ appearance, have historically been classified as passive, structural elements. Researchers have found that manipulations of CapZ (a z-disc protein) may have therapeutic benefit. Specifically researchers are investigating the possibility that by decreasing CapZ, they may be able to prevent, slow, and even reverse heart malfunction that occurs in people and animals with heart failure.

Myofilament control by Relaxin:

The hormone Relaxin has long been known as a hormone of pregnancy, whose actions were thought to be restricted to the female reproductive system. However, more recent work has found that circulating levels of Relaxin increase in people with heart failure, but it is not known whether this is a good or bad change. To answer these questions, researchers treat cardiac muscle with Relaxin and examine its impact on function.

Impact of steroid hormones on myocardial mechanoenergetics:

It has long been known that men and women have different susceptibilities to heart disease, although the occurrence rates vary depending on age. Young women are seemingly less afflicted by cardiovascular disease than young men, but this difference disappears or even reverses in older people. Many studies have examined the potential of preventing or treating cardiovascular disease through hormone therapy. Researchers have undertaken a series of studies designed to look at how estrogen and testosterone modify heart function, and to determine how these hormones produce their effects.

KaleidaGraph used to graph and analyze muscle activation studies

KaleidaGraph is used by researchers to graph and analyze muscle activation studies to see how certain signaling molecules affect muscle function. These molecules are involved in heart failure, and the research is designed to 1. figure out what affect the molecules have on muscle (i.e. do they cause disease, or are they an attempt to compensation) and 2. test treatment strategies to modify how these signals work.

KaleidaGraph is used to plot muscle activation curves, and to do statistical analysis of the data. As calcium is introduced to the muscle, it turns on, and produces a sigmoidal activation curve. KaleidaGraph is used to fit the data to the curve. This provides researchers with a series of numbers (maximum, minimum, slope, and mid-point) which explain how the muscle is performing. The data is then grouped (i.e. all the mid-point values) and analyzed using KaleidaGraph’s statistical components.

“Our research relies on plotting sigmoidal graphs and fitting them with the Hill Equation,” states Dr. Glen Pyle, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph and a KaleidaGraph user since 2003. “Most other graphing programs do not fit sigmoidal data points well, and even fewer display the variables that were used to generate the curve.”

“KaleidaGraph not only generates excellent figures for use in publications, but it also provides ‘one-stop shopping’: with a single program we can graph our data and run the required statistical analysis. Previously we had to use multiple programs to graph and analyze our data, and in some cases use several different programs depending on the statistical test.”

Dr. Pyle has published his work in the American Journal of Physiology and the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. More information can also be found at https://ovc.uoguelph.ca/biomedical-sciences/people/faculty/William-Glen-Pyle.

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