Our body is incapable of repairing injured or dead heart cells. When a person gets a heart attack, the connective tissue forms a scar tissue at the site of the injury, which ultimately leads to heart failure. To explore cellular reprogramming of heart, researchers at the Gladstone Institutes conducted a new study using a mouse model. They found that three transcription factors - Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5 – work in tandem in mouse models to regenerate damaged heart cells by regulating the genes in cells that reprogram connective tissue cells into heart muscle cells. In order to find chemicals that would improve this process, the researchers tested 5500 chemicals. Of them, they found two that increased the number of heart cells created by eightfold and accelerated the process of cell conversion. Using these chemicals, they were successful in improving the heart function in mice that had suffered a heart attack. Moreover, they tested these chemicals to improve direct cardiac reprogramming of human cells, which was a step forward in developing better treatments for heart failure in humans.
Read more in Science Daily.