Diabetes, Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.  Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
 Article 303
    Published on February 9, 2018

This injectable gel can regenerate heart muscle or repair broken heart after myocardial infarction or heart attack

Contractile heart cardiac muscle cells called as cardiomyocytes helps the heart in pumping blood throughout the body including the heart. The heart injury due to heart attack (myocardial infarction MI) causes loss of these cells and formation of cardiac scars or dead tissue. Studies show cardiomyocytes fail to regenerate after a heart injury and studies could not uncover reasons. So heart fails to pump sufficient blood to the body with each beat and reduces survival chances and increases the risk of death or mortality. Heart attack deaths account for nearly 50 percent of heart diseases deaths in the United States and Europe.

Researchers have found an innovative way for the resumption of replication process in existing cardiomyocytes with an injectable hydrogel. The injected gel releases microRNAs (miRNAs) into the heart muscle slowly and enables cardiomyocytes to replicate. This gel treatment successfully enabled heart cells to repair themselves and heal instead of introducing new cells.

Two important qualities of this gel for the successful protection of microRNAs and proper delivery of them to heart muscle for regeneration of cardiomyocytes are

  • The gel can become more fluid and can easily flow through the catheter or syringe as the bonds in the gel will be broken under mechanical stress.
  • Bonds in the gel will form again when mechanical stress was removed. This allows the gel to stay within the heart muscle.

In experiments with heart attack induced mice models with this gel treatment, researchers have found cardiomyocytes (heart cells) division and reproduction activity and improved heart function. Experiments shows

  • Increase in the number of cardiomyocytes biomarkers in the heart tissue among normal healthy mice models.
  • Researchers have observed the division of cardiomyocytes and formation of cardiomyocytes clusters in response to microRNAs released from the gel in heart attack induced mice models.
  • Gel treatment in heart attack induced mice models caused improved heart recovery, higher ejection fraction (EF), more blood being pumped out of the heart and a small increase in the size of the heart. The heart attack causes heart enlargement due to non-contractile scar tissue (or dead tissue) and reduces heart's functionality.

With the successful experiments involving mice models, researchers are planning to conduct experiments involving human heart cells in a controlled experimental environment (vitro) and with animals having hearts similar to humans.

This injectable gel can regenerate heart muscle or repair broken heart after myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Inventors have applied for the provisional patents for the technology. Lead author of the study was Professor Edward E. Morrisey, Ph.D, Morrisey Lab, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, the United States. The study findings were published November 27, 2017 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. Title of the article was "Sustained miRNA delivery from an injectable hydrogel promotes cardiomyocyte proliferation and functional regeneration after ischaemic injury." DOI : dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-017-0157-y

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MicroRNAs : MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNA molecules and they are associated with the regulation of gene expression.

MiRNAs : See MicroRNAs.



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