Scientists have established a new technique to fix and even regenerate heart muscle cells after a heart attack.
However, it has only been examined on mice till now, but if it works the same in humans, it could be a life-saving medication for people who have undergone a heart attack.
The technique utilizes a synthetic messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). mRNA develops a ‘blueprint’ of DNA sequences that the body again uses to create the proteins that form and supervise our cells. By tweaking the mRNA, scientists can transmit several instructions for varied biological processes.
The edited instructions here facilitate the replication of heart muscle cells through the two so-called mutated transcription components, Stein and YAP5SA.
Practically, the idea is to make heart muscle cells, which have relatively little ability to regenerate, behave more like stem cells, which can be spun into various other kinds of specialized cells by the body.
“No one has been able to do this to this extent and we think it could become a possible treatment for humans,” explains biologist Robert Schwartz from the University of Houston in Texas.
Less than 1 percent of grown-up cardiac muscle cells can regenerate because the cardiomyocytes that we have when we die are primarily the same ones we’ve had since we were born. It implies that heart attacks and heart disease can leave the heart eternally fragile.
“When both transcription factors were injected into infarcted adult mouse hearts, the results were stunning,” says Schwartz.
“The lab found cardiac myocytes multiplied quickly within a day, while hearts over the next month were repaired to near normal cardiac pumping function with little scarring.”
We are still to see whether the approach can be taken successfully to humans.