Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Newborn heart muscle can grow back by itself, study shows

Date:
February 25, 2011
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
In a promising science-fiction-meets-real-world juxtaposition, researchers have discovered that the mammalian newborn heart can heal itself completely.

Researchers led by (from left) Drs. Eric Olson, Hesham Sadek and Enzo Porrello found in an animal study that newborn heart tissue was able to repair itself within weeks of being damaged.
Credit: Image courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center

In a promising science-fiction-meets-real-world juxtaposition, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that the mammalian newborn heart can heal itself completely.

Researchers, working with mice, found that a portion of the heart removed during the first week after birth grew back wholly and correctly -- as if nothing had happened.

"This is an important step in our search for a cure for heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the developed world," said Dr. Hesham Sadek, assistant professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study available online in the Feb. 25 issue of Science. "We found that the heart of newborn mammals can fix itself; it just forgets how as it gets older. The challenge now is to find a way to remind the adult heart how to fix itself again."

Previous research has demonstrated that the lower organisms, like some fish and amphibians, that can regrow fins and tails, can also regrow portions of their hearts after injury.

"In contrast, the hearts of adult mammals lack the ability to regrow lost or damaged tissue, and as a result, when the heart is injured, for example after a heart attack, it gets weaker, which eventually leads to heart failure," Dr. Sadek said.

The researchers found that within three weeks of removing 15 percent of the newborn mouse heart, the heart was able to completely grow back the lost tissue, and as a result looked and functioned just like a normal heart. The researchers believe that uninjured beating heart cells, called cardiomyocytes, are a major source of the new cells. They stop beating long enough to divide and provide the heart with fresh cardiomyocytes.

Dr. Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology and co-senior author of the study, said that this work is fascinating.

"The inability of the adult heart to regenerate following injury represents a major barrier in cardiovascular medicine," said Dr. Olson, who directs the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic and Clinical Research in Pediatric Oncology. "This work demonstrates that cardiac regeneration is possible in the mammalian heart during a window of time after birth, but this regenerative ability is then lost. Armed with this knowledge, we can next work to discover methods to reawaken cardiac regeneration in adulthood."

The next step, the researchers said, is to study this brief window when the heart is still capable of regeneration, and to find out how, and why, the heart "turns off" this remarkable ability to regenerate as it grows older.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Enzo Porrello, postdoctoral research fellow in molecular biology and the paper's lead author; Ahmed Mahmoud, graduate research assistant in internal medicine; Emma Simpson, research assistant in pathology; Dr. Joseph Hill, chief of cardiology; and Dr. James Richardson, professor of pathology and molecular biology.

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the American Heart Association.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. R. Porrello, A. I. Mahmoud, E. Simpson, J. A. Hill, J. A. Richardson, E. N. Olson, H. A. Sadek. Transient Regenerative Potential of the Neonatal Mouse Heart. Science, 2011; 331 (6020): 1078 DOI: 10.1126/science.1200708

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Newborn heart muscle can grow back by itself, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145600.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2011, February 25). Newborn heart muscle can grow back by itself, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145600.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Newborn heart muscle can grow back by itself, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145600.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins