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
Cardiovascular diseases -- Promoting self-healing after heart attack
on June 11, 2019 at 7:30 am
Myocardial infarction (MI) results in the localized death of the muscle cells that are essential for the heart's pumping function. Depending on the extent of the damage, MI may initiate a progressive ... […]
Promoting cardiac self-healing after heart attack
on June 11, 2019 at 6:04 am
Furthermore, therapeutic administration of AnxA1 following heart damage was found to promote myocardial repair in wild type mice. The protein causes immune cells called macrophages to secrete the ... […]
Bioheart Announces Cell Therapies Program in the Middle East for Congestive Heart Failure and Peripheral Arterial Disease Patients
on May 29, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Unlike other tissues, the heart muscle does not release enough SDF-1 to attract the number of stem cells that would result in complete self-healing. As a result, scar tissue forms and impairs normal ... […]
Artificial blood vessels that come to life could improve medical care. Here's why.
on April 9, 2019 at 1:38 am
Preliminary research points to a new approach for treating medical conditions ranging from heart disease to ... are able to incorporate living cells after being implanted in the human body, becoming ... […]
Scientists Create Blood Vessels That Become Living Tissue
on March 27, 2019 at 3:57 pm
Heart disease is the ... on to show that patient’s own cells even repaired implanted HAVs that had been damaged from dialysis needles. The finding suggests the engineered vessels might also be capable ... […]
Fish may hold the key to repairing damaged hearts in humans
on November 21, 2018 at 1:54 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 ... […]
Stem cells to be tested for kidney repair
on September 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm
If it works, it will be the kind of self-healing everybody has been waiting for ... Those other organs could include the heart, lungs, liver and eyes. These cells could prove very therapeutic for ... […]
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 ... […]
Novel RNA Repairs Damaged Cells in Heart, Prevents Heart Failure
on August 22, 2017 at 7:03 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 ... […]
Self-healing cells can repair damaged hearts
on August 22, 2017 at 2:43 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 ... […]
via Google News and Bing News