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Researchers stimulate self-healing after heart attacks
Cardiac muscle cells damaged by a heart attack could possibly be restored by the administration of a certain protein. This is the result of a study by British researchers led by Paul Riley from University College London and Nicola Smart from the Institute of Child Health in London, which was published in the current online pre-release of the journal "Nature".
The British researchers succeeded in stimulating the self-healing powers in mice in such a way that the damaged heart muscle cells were restored after a heart attack. With the administration of a certain protein, the cells in the adult heart muscle of the mice began to transform into heart muscle cells, report Nicola Smart and colleagues. The researchers hope to improve the procedure in the future so that the damaged heart muscle can also be regenerated in humans after a heart attack.
Protein stimulates self-healing after heart attacks In the event of a heart attack, muscle tissue of the pumping goose dies and then has to be converted into a stable scar by the organism so that the functioning of the vital organ is still guaranteed. In most cases, damage to the heart muscle cells remains. According to the British researchers, two thirds of the surviving heart attacks suffer from damage to the heart muscle, which permanently impair the performance of the heart. However, the British researchers led by Nicola Smart have now for the first time managed to heal the adult pump organ in mice after a heart attack by administering a certain protein. As part of their study, the scientists administered the protein thymosin beta-4 to the mice before and after a heart attack, which is known to support the growth of new blood vessels in the pump organ. With the help of the protein, the cells in the adult heart muscle of the mice could be made to convert into heart muscle cells, the researchers at the Institute of Child Health report. Overall, the mice treated with the thymosin beta-4 protein had significantly less heart damage than the untreated animals, Nicola Smart and colleagues explained.
New heart attack therapy still a long way off Although the results of the British researchers sound promising at first glance, an application of the method in the treatment of heart attack patients is still a long way off. Because with the help of the protein thymosin beta-4, the researchers were able to heal the heart muscle cells of the mice. However, far too few new heart muscle cells were trained for a promising use in humans to avoid possible limitations in the performance of the heart. Nicola Smart and colleagues pointed out that the process of converting the cells has not yet been particularly effective and that other substances that support the self-healing process after a heart attack therefore need to be researched. Only when the effectiveness of the protein thymosin beta-4 can be significantly increased does the method offer itself as a new infarct therapy in humans, according to the British scientists. Paul Riley of University College London added: "We have shown that it may be possible to repair hearts that have been damaged by an infarction." The study leader hopes that this procedure could help "new heart failure therapies in the future." develop."
Different proteins determine self-healing of the heart In the healing processes after a heart attack, different proteins are of particular importance for the chances of success. For example, researchers from the Max Planck Institute and the Hannover Medical School (MHH) presented a study in early May that examines the relationship between the release of the GDF-15 protein and the healing processes after a heart attack. The researchers discovered “a completely new mechanism by which the body prevents excessive inflammatory reactions” and thus enables the best possible healing of the heart muscle. Because the vital organ has to continuously pump blood during the healing process. Inflammation that may occur could result in life-threatening tears in the tissue when the heart muscle is stressed, so that the inflammatory reaction in the body urgently needs to be regulated. According to the experts from the Max Planck Institute and the Hannover Medical School (MHH), the protein GDF-15 ensures this. The researchers published their study results at the beginning of May in the journal "Nature Medicine". (fp)
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