Researchers discover a new molecule, ‘Singheart,’ that may hold the key to triggering the regeneration and repair of damaged heart cells
New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal. The discovery could lead to groundbreaking forms of treatment for heart diseases. For the first time, researchers have identified a long non-coding ribonucleic acid (ncRNA) that regulates genes controlling the ability of heart cells to undergo repair or regeneration. This novel RNA, which researchers have named “Singheart”, may be targeted for treating heart failure in the future. The discovery was made jointly by A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the National University Health System (NUHS), and is now published in Nature Communications.
Unlike most other cells in the human body, heart cells do not have the ability to self-repair or regenerate effectively, making heart attack and heart failure severe and debilitating. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 17.7 million people dying from CVD in 2015 (1). CVD also accounted for close to 30% of all deaths in Singapore in 2015 (2).
In this project, the researchers used single cell technology to explore gene expression patterns in healthy and diseased hearts. The team discovered that a unique subpopulation of heart cells in diseased hearts activate gene programmes related to heart cell division, uncovering the gene expression heterogeneity of diseased heart cells for the first time. In addition, they also found the “brakes” that prevent heart cells from dividing and thus self-healing. Targeting these “brakes” could help trigger the repair and regeneration of heart cells.
“There has always been a suspicion that the heart holds the key to its own healing, regenerative and repair capability. But that ability seems to become blocked as soon as the heart is past its developmental stage. Our findings point to this potential block that when lifted, may allow the heart to heal itself,” explained A/Prof Roger Foo, the study’s lead author, who is Principal Investigator at both GIS and NUHS’ Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and Senior Consultant at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS).
“In contrast to a skin wound where the scab falls off and new skin grows over, the heart lacks such a capability to self-heal, and suffers a permanent scar instead. If the heart can be motivated to heal like the skin, consequences of a heart attack would be banished forever,” added A/Prof Foo.
The study was driven by first author and former Senior Research Fellow at the GIS, Dr Kelvin See, who is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and Mack Technology Fellow at University of Pennsylvania.
“This new research is a significant step towards unlocking the heart’s full regenerative potential, and may eventually translate to more effective treatment for heart diseases. Heart disease is the top disease burden in Singapore and strong funding remains urgently needed to enable similar groundbreaking discoveries,” said Prof Mark Richards, Director of CVRI.
Executive Director of GIS, Prof Ng Huck Hui added, “This cross-institutional research effort serves as a strong foundation for future heart studies. More importantly, uncovering barriers that stand in the way of heart cells’ self-healing process brings us another step closer to finding a cure for one of the world’s biggest killers.”
The Latest on: Self-healing heart cells
- Fish may hold the key to repairing damaged hearts in humans on November 21, 2018 at 2:14 am
Researchers then switched off the gene in a different species with self-healing abilities, the zebrafish ... Studies in mice have shown the gene is involved in the way heart cells contract with every ... […]
- Harnessing the survival powers of cancer cells could wipe out heart disease on July 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm
The key is an enzyme called Pim, which is instrumental in the growth and proliferation of certain types of cancer cells but also in the ... ago of a potential vaccine for heart disease, which would no... […]
- 5 lessons for modern life from the Chinese art of self-care, Yang Sheng on February 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Increasing your blood flow stimulates cell growth too. On the other hand ... Qi Gong is the use of breath work for self-healing and is one of the pillars of Chinese medicine. If you visit China, every ... […]
- Penn Researchers Develop an Injectable Gel that Helps Heart Muscle Regenerate after a Heart Attack on November 29, 2017 at 6:54 am
Cardiomyocytes, green, proliferating in a mouse heart after gel injection. In mammals, including humans, the cells that contract the heart muscle ... of this gel are that it’s shear-thinning and self- ... […]
- New molecule may hold the key to triggering the regeneration and repair of damaged heart cells on August 21, 2017 at 5:13 am
In addition, they also found the "brakes" that prevent heart cells from dividing and thus self-healing. Targeting these "brakes" could help trigger the repair and regeneration of heart cells. "There h... […]
- Mayo Clinic tests self-healing hearts on January 17, 2014 at 12:00 am
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Federal officials will allow the Mayo Clinic to test using stem cells to heal patients' hearts. The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it approved Mayo for a trial ... […]
- The heart's own stem cells play their part in regeneration on November 29, 2013 at 3:20 am
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, have identified a stem cell population responsible for this regeneration. Hopes are growing that it will be possible ... […]
- Human stem cells from fat tissue fuse with rat heart cells and beat on February 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm
"Recovery of regenerative cells located in the stromal vascular fraction of a patient's own subcutaneous tissue is relatively simple and can be used for self-healing," said Christopher ... regenerativ... […]
- Human heart can grow new cells, study finds on April 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm
Heart attacks The team used an innovative technique to uncover the self-healing potential in the blood-pumping organ — they carbon-dated human heart cells. During the 1950s when scientists tested nucl... […]
via Google News and Bing News