A diseased mammalian embryonic heart boosts its production of heart muscle cells to spur its own regeneration, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.developmentalcell.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS1534580708003882 appearing tomorrow in Developmental Cell. "The mammalian heart has a phenomenal capacity to fix itself," linkurl:Timothy Cox;http://depts.washington.edu/chdd/iddrc/res_aff/cox.html at the University of Washington, the study's lead author, told The Scientist, "which is important [since there are] lots of insults during embryogenesis." Researchers knew that cardiomyocytes could regenerate in the injured fetal hearts of creatures such as amphibians, but the effect had not been previously shown in mammals. The new study shows that the mammalian heart can regenerate heart cells even if half of its cardiomyocytes are diseased. "What's new here is they show in a diseased heart an increased rate of proliferation, which in effect repairs the heart," linkurl:Michael Parmacek,;http://www.med.upenn.edu/mcrc/parmacek_lab/ director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who was not involved...
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