Mice can repair their heart muscle
Sun, 27 Feb 2011 14:36:32 GMT
Scientists have found that newborn mice can regenerate muscles of their heart, a discovery that could pave the way for the development of a new treatment for heart disease in human.
Previous findings have revealed that many amphibians and fish have the ability to regrow their heart muscle into adulthood. The new study similarly showed that some other mammals might have the same natural ability early in life.
University of Texas researchers discovered that a one-day mouse is capable of repairing a part of its heart muscle, removed by the scientists, within 3 weeks.
The newborn mice can repair damages as large as 15 percent of their heart. However, the power to regenerate the damage disappears in mice at the age of one week, scientists wrote in the journal Science.
"In principle, mechanisms exist in a mammalian heart for regeneration, but they're somehow permanently switched off," said co-senior author Eric Olson. "Now that we know [that this can happen], at least in principle, we can start to screen for drugs or genes or growth factors that might reawaken these mechanisms in adult hearts."
Scientists believe that a similar capacity could exist in humans. They therefore hope their findings would lead to the development of new ways for repairing human hearts damaged due to diseases or trauma.