A  A  A   Print
Study Sheds Light on How Heart Heals Itself

Study Sheds Light on How Heart Heals Itself

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- New insight into the heart's ability to repair itself could help scientists develop ways to improve recovery after a heart attack, a new study of mice suggests.

Researchers found that a signaling pathway -- called the Hippo pathway -- normally blocks heart repair in adult mice. When certain signals were removed, the animals' hearts were able to regenerate after being damaged.

This was because specialized heart cells called "cardiomyocytes" were able to multiply much better after the signals were removed, an ability that is normally lost in damaged hearts, according to the researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Heart Institute.

"The heart is very poor at repairing itself after various types of injury including the most common injury, the myocardial infarct [heart attack]," team leader James Martin said in a news release from The Company of Biologists.

"We were very excited to see full return of cardiac function in the Hippo-mutant hearts after injury. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and also a little good luck," Martin said.

The study was recently published in the journal Development.

Previous research has shown that hearts can regenerate in embryos during their development, and also in newborn mice. But this ability is lost during adulthood. Some fish and amphibians can repair their hearts as adults, but it's believed that humans lost this ability during the course of evolution.

This new finding suggests that it may be possible to reactivate the human heart's ability to repair itself.

"The implications for treating heart disease are great. With recent advances, it is now clear that the heart muscle can be coaxed to make new muscle cells," Martin said.

Scientists note, however, that research with animals often fails to provide similar results in humans.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart attack.

SOURCE: The Company of Biologists, news release, Nov. 19, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.