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New study shows no heart regeneration in mammals

Ditte Andersen of Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark and colleagues attempted to replicate a reported regeneration of mouse hearts without success according to the researcher’s report in the April 3, 2014, edition of the journal Stem Cell Reports.

The apex is still missing in AR hearts and scar formation with connective tissue and fat is seen.
Credit: Stem Cell Reports, Andersen et al. Usage Restrictions: Credit Required

A previous study in 2011 supposedly demonstrated that regeneration of the mammalian heart was possible. The researchers in this study removed the lower 10 percent of the heart of neonatal mice that were one day old. The mice regenerated the removed heart muscle. The concept was that an innate but temporary enzymatic or hormonal system could be responsible for the regeneration of hearts in mammals but the capacity was lost after seven days.

Andersen and colleagues replicated the original 2011 study parameters exactly and found no heart regeneration was seen. The mouse hearts that had the apex removed were smaller, weighed less, formed scar tissue, had more fat, and produced no evidence of regeneration.

The goal of regeneration of heart tissue in part or in total is an ambitious goal and necessary because heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world,

Andersen’s work does not dismiss the potential for producing regeneration of heart tissue in mammals. The research does emphasize the need for replication of work that has such profound implications for human health prior to publication.