Heart ‘can carry out own repairs’

By | November 16, 2006

Heart can carry out own repairs

Scientists have shown that cells in the heart’s outer layer can migrate deeper into a failing organ to carry out essential repairs. The migration of progenitor cells is controlled by a protein called thymosin beta 4, already known to help reduce muscle cell loss after a heart attack.

The discovery opens up the possibility of using the protein to develop more effective treatments for heart disease. …

Progenitor cells are similar to stem cells, in that they have the potential to turn into different types of adult tissue.

However, it had been thought there was no ready source of these cells in the heart, and to carry out repairs they had to be summoned up from the bone marrow.

The latest research is the first to show that they actually reside within the heart tissue itself. … we found that, when treated with thymosin ?4, these adult cells have as much potential as embryonic cells to create healthy heart tissue.”

Dr Riley said using thymosin ?4 could lead to a more effective way to repair damaged hearts. – bbc

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