Researchers studied, and are still studying, animals like zebrafish, which cut off 20% of the heart recovers smoothly, because of his fascinating regenerative capacity. One option is to use stem cells, but in the laboratory of Juan Carlos Izpisúa managed a mouse hart recover completely after myocardial infarct.
When they blocked four molecules in particular, the researchers observed a great improvement in healinge and regeneration in mice. This produced that heart cells returned to a pioneering position that allowed them proliferation in tissue.
The team decided to focus on microRNAs and made a comprehensive screen for microRNAs that were changing their expression levels in the healing phase in the fish (which is also found in mammals). The studies showed four specific molecules that fit their criteria. All were suppressed during cardiac injury in zebrafish. However, in studies with mammalian cells, the researchers observed that these were abundant and not reduced to the injury. So the team used a specific virus for finish with these microRNAs.
The introduction of these viruses in the hearts affected sparked a regeneration of cardiac cells which in turn produced a physical and functional improvement at heart. The improvement was visible between three and six months later.
The next step is explore with bigger animals and with bigger hearts and also an alternative method to virus.
This is a breakthrough as they continue to explore and we could reach a point where we are able to heal ourselves without implanting cells coming from outside of our body.
In the original article also say that besides the molecules there are also proteins as regulators like cardiomyocytes that play an important role in the regeneration.
I chose this subject because I find it very interesting because we could solve many problems in the future but it could also create much controversy. The fact that in the future we could regenerate all mammals mean an enormous scientific and social evolution. Moreover the fact experimenting with genes could cause many problems because being such a sensitive topic, a little mistake could mean disaster.
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