Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 303

This Injectable Gel Can Regenerate Tissue Of The Heart Or Repair The Broken Heart After Heart Attack


The contractile heart cardiac muscle cells are called cardiomyocytes. These cells can help the heart in pumping the blood throughout the body including to the heart.

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This injectable gel can regenerate tissue of the heart or repair the broken heart after myocardial infarction (heart attack).

A heart injury due to heart attack (myocardial infarction. MI) can cause a loss of these cells and lead to the formation of cardiac scars (dead tissue). An earlier study shows that the cardiomyocytes could not regenerate after a heart injury. But that study could not find the reason for the failure of the cardiomyocytes.

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After a heart attack, the heart fails to pump sufficient blood to the body and can lower the survival chances and can increase the risk of death (mortality). Nearly 50 percent of the deaths due to heart diseases in the United States and Europe is due to the heart attack.

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Now, the researchers have found an innovative way for the resumption of the replication process in the existing cardiomyocytes with an injectable hydrogel. The injected gel can slowly release the microRNAs (miRNAs) into the heart muscle and can enable the cardiomyocytes to replicate. This gel treatment was successful in enabling the cells of the heart to repair themselves and heal. There is no need for introducing new cells.

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Two important features of this gel for the effective protection of the microRNAs and for the effective delivery of the gel to the heart muscle for the regeneration of cardiomyocytes are.

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

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In the experiment on the heart attack induced mice models with the gel treatment, researchers have observed the division of cardiomyocytes (heart cells), reproduction activity of the cardiomyocytes and an improved heart function. The experiment shows.

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* An increase in the number of cardiomyocytes in the muscle tissue of the heart of the normal healthy mice models.

* Researchers have observed the division of cardiomyocytes and formation of cardiomyocytes clusters in response to the microRNAs released from the gel in the heart attack induced mice models.

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* The heart attack can cause an enlargement of the heart due to the scar tissue (non-contractile and dead tissue) and reduces the function of the heart. The gel treatment on the heart attack induced mice models can trigger the heart recovery, a higher ejection fraction (EF), more blood being pumped out of the heart and a small increase in the size of the heart.

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Inventors have applied for the provisional patents for this technology. The 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 was published on 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 ischemic 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.


Published on February 9, 2018


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