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Heart Recovery after Heart Attack Successfully Mapped

Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands say they have mapped the recovery of the heart after a heart attack with great detail. They found that cardiomyocytes play an important role in the intracellular communication after a heart attack.

The team documented their findings in a database that is accessible for scientists around the world. They believe this brings the research field a step closer to the development of therapies for improved recovery after heart injury, a key development in the field of cardiovascular disease.

Their study “Single-cell transcriptomics following ischemic injury identifies a role for B2M in cardiac repair” was published in Communications Biology.

“The efficiency of the repair process following ischemic cardiac injury is a crucial determinant for the progression into heart failure and is controlled by both intra- and intercellular signaling within the heart. An enhanced understanding of this complex interplay will enable better exploitation of these mechanisms for therapeutic use,” write the investigators.

“We used single-cell transcriptomics to collect gene expression data of all main cardiac cell types at different time-points after ischemic injury. These data unveiled cellular and transcriptional heterogeneity and changes in cellular function during cardiac remodeling. Furthermore, we established potential intercellular communication networks after ischemic injury.

“Follow up experiments confirmed that cardiomyocytes express and secrete elevated levels of beta-2 microglobulin in response to ischemic damage, which can activate fibroblasts in a paracrine manner. Collectively, our data indicate phase-specific changes in cellular heterogeneity during different stages of cardiac remodeling and allow for the identification of therapeutic targets relevant for cardiac repair.”

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