The heart's limitations

Two signaling pathways interact to constrain the mammalian heart's ability to self-renew

Megan Scudellari
Apr 20, 2011
Two seemingly disparate signaling pathways -- one that controls organ size in fruit flies and another important for the growth of embryos -- interact in embryonic mouse hearts to restrict cell proliferation and control heart size.
Wild-type (left) and Hippo mutant (right)
neonate mouse hearts
Courtesy of Todd Heallen, Janelle Heallen and James Martin, Texas A&M Health Science Center
Mammalian hearts have only a scant capacity to regenerate heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes, to repair tissue damaged as a result of a heart attack or heart disease. The new research, linkurl:published today (April 21) in Science,;http://www.sciencemag.org/ suggests it may be possible to interfere with signaling pathways that limit such regeneration to therapeutically promote the production of muscle cells in damaged hearts."It's a fine piece of fundamental developmental biology," said linkurl:Michael Schneider,;http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/people/m.d.schneider/ head of the National Heart and Lung Institute at the Imperial College London, who was not involved...
Drosophila,Science. Heallen, T., et al., "Hippo Pathway Inhibits Wnt Signaling to Restrain Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Heart Size," Science, 332:458-61, 2011.