Scientists uncover why the human heart can’t regenerate itself

Stem cell researchers at UCLA have uncovered for the first time why adult human cardiac myocytes have lost their ability to proliferate, perhaps explaining why the human heart has little regenerative capacity.

The study, done in cell lines and mice, may lead to methods of reprogramming a patient’s own cardiac myocytes within the heart itself to create new muscle to repair damage, said Dr. Robb MacLellan, a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and senior author of the study.

Unlike newts and salamanders, human adults cannot spontaneously regrow damaged organs such as the heart. However, recent research suggests that mammals do have the ability to regenerate the heart for a very brief period, about the first week of life. But that ability is quickly lost. But if we had it once, MacLellan said, maybe it is possible to regain that ability.

via Scientists uncover why the human heart can’t regenerate itself.

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One Response to Scientists uncover why the human heart can’t regenerate itself

  1. Deskarati says:

    An interesting point was asked of us recently which posed the question ‘why doesn’t the heart get cancer?’ Well the answer is – it can get cancer but very rarely does. Our investigations could not find any real answer to why it doesn’t, but after reading this interesting article above it dawned on us that it’s probably due to the fact that the heart doesn’t regenerate. This lack of regeneration, it appears to us, is a good thing. The heart must be our strongest organ/muscle and because of it’s ability to work on and on without regeneration of cells, this is what keeps it safe from mutations and cancers. This is all just speculation on our part so we would be pleased to hear from any more educated views.
    Unfortunately, if we are right, the research to find how to regenerate the heart might be a lost cause.

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