Heart Regeneration

Cells that fix the heart

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 1012-1013
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.1012-e

The adult heart is thought to lack the capacity to self-repair. Any injury after, say, a heart attack causes scarring and may result in heart failure. In some animals, particularly when very young, heart muscle regeneration does occur. Even in adult mammals, new heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) can arise, but they are rare. Most maturing mammalian cardiomyocytes become binucleated and polyploid, and these seem to be incapable of regeneration. Patterson et al. found that a few “normal” mononucleated diploid cardiomyocytes (MNDCMs) occur in mice. Some individuals have more MNDCMs than others, and these individuals are better able to recover after heart injury. A gene called Tnni3k limits the number of MNDCMs, and it is this that appears to control the capacity for recovery after heart injury.

Nat. Genet. 10.1038/ng.3929 (2017).

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