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Heart Repairs Itself After Heart Attack June 9, 2011

Posted by Metabiological in Longevity.
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Anyone who has or knows someone who has gone through a heart attack knows what a painful and traumatic event it is.  As the number one killer in the US and high up there among other developed countries finding a cure for heart disease would go a long ways towards combating premature death.  Well, some researchers at University College may be on the way to doing just that.

Heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, are irreparably damaged by heart attack. For the heart to continue functioning properly, the damaged cells must be replaced. Heart progenitor cells — cells that can form the various tissues that make up the heart, such as blood vessels and muscle — do exist, but in adults are not active enough to repair damage. So Paul Riley at University College London Institute of Child Health and his colleagues have found a way to wake them up.

The researchers examined the hearts of mice at various time points after the operation. They found heart cells expressing Wt1 just two days after the injury. The cells were initially in the heart’s outer layer, but by two weeks after surgery they had moved inside and clustered around the site of the injury. The cells had also changed in size and shape, and looked just like cardiomyocytes.

Awesome.  Now if they can just figure out how to make the human body turn the switch on and off so to speak.

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