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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):C45-51. Epub 2006 Aug 30.

Bcl-2 family members and apoptosis, taken to heart.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Loss of myocardial cells via apoptosis has been observed in many cardiovascular diseases and has been shown to contribute to the initiation and progression of heart failure. The Bcl-2 family members are important regulators of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. These proteins decide whether the mitochondria should initiate the cell death program and release proapoptotic factors such as cytochrome c. The Bcl-2 proteins consist of anti- and proapoptotic members and play a key role in regulating apoptosis in the myocardium. The antiapoptotic proteins have been demonstrated to protect against various cardiac pathologies, whereas the antiapoptotic proteins have been reported to contribute to heart disease. This review summarizes the current understanding of the role of Bcl-2 proteins in the heart.

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