Re-Growing Heart Tissue After Damage
Reported July 23, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Heart tissue has been known to not have the
ability to re-grow, but researchers at Children's Hospital Boston are
working on ways to regenerate heart tissue after damage.
Researchers found after injecting animals with the growth factor neuregulin1
(NRG1) following a heart attack, heart regeneration increased and pumping
function improved compared with controls. The animals were injected once
daily for 12 weeks following a heart attack. Researchers were able to
restart the cell cycle with NRG1, stimulating cardiomyocytes to divide and
make copies of themselves even though they were not stem cells.
The mice who received NRG1 did not have the left-ventricular dilation and
cardiac hypertrophy, which are usually encountered in heart failure. The
researchers also stimulated production of a cellular receptor for NRG1,
known as ErB4, and found that cardiomyocyte proliferation was further
"NRG1 works when given by systemic injection -- a very promising result that
suggests it may be feasible to use this in the clinic to treat heart
failure," Bernhard Kuhn, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist at Children's
Hospital Boston and the study's senior investigator, was quoted saying.
Experts hope the study results will lead to improved treatments for patients
who suffer heart attacks or heart failure as well as children with
congenital heart defects.
SOURCE: Cell, July 2009