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.
Scientists circumnavigating the globe on a spartan racing catamaran will spend the coming year deploying drones to collect better data on plastic pollution
A patch of gold electrodes you can wear behind your ear for up to two weeks will track your brainwaves 24/7 and let you control devices with your mind
Scientists have peeked inside the brain of a man with tinnitus to identify the brainwaves that underlie the debilitating sensation of ringing in the ear
For extinct creatures like dinosaurs known only from fossils, it is notoriously difficult to differentiate the males from the females of a species because sex distinctions are rarely obvious from the skeletons.
The most complete genetic information assembled on woolly mammoths is providing insight into their demise, revealing they suffered two population crashes before a final, severely inbred group succumbed on an Arctic Ocean island.
More than 30 million crows fly around the country, but among all creatures, the birds may be among the least understood. Ben Tracy reports on new research into crows' brains.
Mouse study demonstrates method to target mutations in DNA inherited from mother
After consulting a "stud book," the Zoo brought a male panda's sperm back to D.C., setting an exciting precedent
Stegosaurs may have sported quite different shaped bony plates on their backs, depending on whether they were male or female, new research claims.
Targeting a protein that causes rampant growth of cells in retinal blood vessels could lead to new treatments for vision loss in older people