Recent research has shown that there are new cells that develop in the heart, but how these cardiac cells are born and how frequently they are generated remains unclear. In new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), researchers use a novel method to identify these new heart cells and describe their origins.
This research is published in Nature on December 5, 2012.
A sophisticated imaging system (MIMS) demonstrates cell division in the adult mammalian heart.
"The question about how often cardiac cells are born has been extremely difficult to answer because there was a need for new techniques to help us understand this process. We are especially excited about our findings because of the novel way in which were able to show new heart cells, using Multi-isotope Imaging Mass Spectrometry (MIMS). Our collaborator, Claude Lechene, MD, had developed this technology, and as a team we harnessed this for the cardiac regeneration question." said Richard T. Lee, MD, a physician and researcher in the Cardiovascular Division at BWH and senior author of the paper. "These data present one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the discussion around the generation of new cardiac cells."
The team of BWH researchers marked existing cardiac cells genetically to cause them to express a green fluorescent protein. Then they used Multi-isotope Imaging Mass Spectrometry (MIMS) to examine the development of new heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, in a pre clinical model over a period of months. Researchers were surprised to find that new heart muscle cells primarily arose from existing heart muscle cells, rather than stem cells. Even in the setting of a heart attack, when stem cells are thought to be activated, most new heart cells were born from pre-existing heart cells.
"Our data show that adult cardiomyocytes are primarily responsible for the generation of new cardiomyocytes and that as we age, we lose some capacity to form new heart cells," said Dr. Lee. "This means that we are losing our potential to rebuild the heart in the latter half of life, just when most heart disease hits us. If we can unravel why this occurs, we may be able to unleash some heart regeneration potential."
Brigham and Women's Hospital: http://www.brighamandwomens.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
About once a year, Florida harvester ants dig new nests, a mystery entomologists are eager to get to the bottom of.
The finding that male homosexuality has a strong genetic component should be a boon for gay rights – but it could backfire
Alan Turing, the man who pioneered computing, also forced the world to question what it means to be human
During sleep, the brain locks in existing memories and can even form new ones. Scientists say they are starting to understand how that happens. A midnight snack may interfere.
They walk among us. Natural experiments, living ordinary lives, unaware that their genes may hold the clue to the next superdrug.
A crowd at the Santa Barbara Zoo got a pleasant surprise when its latest star attraction, a baby giraffe, came out for a jaunt
A massive white matter tract at the back of the brain, overlooked for the past century, might be crucial for skills such as reading.
An award-winning book on optical illusions explains the science of tricking your brain.
Scientists investigating a huge die-off of starfish along North America's Pacific coast have identified a virus they say is responsible for a calamitous wasting disease that has wiped out millions of the creatures since it first appeared last year.
After 43,000 years in the Siberian permafrost, the remains of a mammoth may contain enough DNA to recreate the beast's genome