1015 GMT August 19, 2019
Most of the time when the heart is injured, these beneficial immune cells are supplanted by immune cells from the bone marrow, which are spurred to converge in the heart and cause inflammation that leads to further damage. In both cases, these immune cells are called macrophages, whether they reside in the heart or arrive from the bone marrow. Although they share a name, where they originate appears to determine whether they are helpful are harmful to an injured heart, Firstpost wrote.
In a mouse model of heart failure, the researchers showed that blocking the bone marrow's macrophages from entering the heart protects the organ's beneficial pool of macrophages, allowing them to remain in the heart, where they promote regeneration and recovery. The findings may have implications for treating heart failure in humans.
"Researchers have known for a long time that the neonatal mouse heart can recover well from injury, and in some cases can even regenerate," said first author Kory J. Lavine, MD, PhD, instructor in medicine. "If you cut off the lower tip of the neonatal mouse heart, it can grow back. But if you do the same thing to an adult mouse heart, it forms scar tissue."
The new research appear to implicate these immune cells of different origins as responsible for the difference in healing capacity seen in neonatal and adult hearts, at least in mice.