Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Process for expansion and division of heart cells identified

Could provide key to regenerative therapies

Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) and the University of California, San Francisco have unraveled a complex signaling process that reveals how different types of cells interact to create a heart.

It has long been known that heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) actively divide and expand in the embryo, but after birth this proliferative capacity is permanently lost. How this transition occurs has not been known.

In the current issue of the journal Developmental Cell, the scientists show that the secret to this switch lies in the cells that surround the muscle cells, known as fibroblasts, which send signals that tell cardiomyocytes to divide or get bigger in size. Manipulation of these signals may be able to induce cardiomyocytes to divide again for regenerative purposes after heart attacks.

Cells exist in a three-dimensional matrix with other cells. Reciprocal signaling between the neighboring cells, along with internally generated factors and signals, insure that the tissues attain the correct shape, size, and function. In heart development, prior to birth (embryogenesis) heart cells (cardiomyocytes) proliferate and develop into different parts of the heart. After birth, the cells no longer proliferate. Although they continue to grow, the inability to proliferate renders the heart unable to regenerate cells after they have been damaged as occurs in heart attacks. It has been suggested that cardiac fibroblasts, which are cells that surround the muscle cells and make up over half of the heart cells, might be important in embryogenesis, but little is known about their development and roles in the embryonic heart.

"We've always suspected that different cell types are involved in determining how a heart is built," said GICD Director and senior author Deepak Srivastava, MD. "Our research showed that the signals from cardiac fibroblasts contribute to the different responses of cardiomyocytes."

To replicate the cell interactions in the developing heart, the scientists developed a novel method of growing two distinct cell types together. By observing the cells in this system, they found that the embryonic cardiac fibroblasts promoted cell division by the cardiomyocytes more efficiently than adult cardiac fibroblasts. Furthermore, they found that fibronectin, collagen and a heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor are secreted specifically by the embryonic cardiac fibroblasts as signals to promote this cell division. These molecules act through another signaling molecule called b1 integrin, found on the surface of cardiomyocytes. The team confirmed their observations in mutant mice that lacked b1 integrin. The mutant mice had fewer myocardial cells and disruptions of the muscle integrity that eventually led to prenatal death.

"We found a major difference in the function of embryonic and adult cardiac fibroblasts. Embryonic cardiac fibroblasts promote myocyte proliferation, while adult fibroblasts promote myocyte hypertrophy," said Masaki Ieda, MD, PhD, Gladstone postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the study. "We are now trying to make adult cardiac fibroblasts more like their embryonic counterparts to induce cardiomyocyte proliferation in the adult."

"Fibroblasts are also abundant and integrally involved in many other tissues, including skin, breast, lung and some cancers. Our results may be relevant to the broader understanding of tissue development, function, and disease," said Dr. Srivastava.

Valerie Tucker | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>