New study finds knocking out p63 gene as means of converting scar tissue into muscle tissue in the heart

April 17, 2018 by Dipali Pathak, Baylor College of Medicine

Following a heart attack, the parts of the heart muscle that die do not regenerate into new heart tissue and instead are replaced by scar tissue. Using rodent models, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are looking for a means to genetically convert this scar tissue into muscle tissue at the cellular level, which could ultimately be a way to treat heart attack and heart failure patients. Their latest work was published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

"Nearly 5 million Americans can be expected to develop advanced congestive heart failure, and, currently, heart transplant or mechanical circulatory support implantation are the only options for patients with end-stage heart failure," said Dr. Todd Rosengart, chair and professor of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor and senior author of the paper. "Our latest findings offer a promising new solution for treatment and improved cardiac function."

The goal of the study was to increase the plasticity of the heart scar cells, meaning their ability to take on characteristics of cells.

Through gene transfer studies in the lab, Rosengart and a team of researchers discovered that a gene called p63 appears to repress the cell plasticity. When the researchers knocked out this gene, they found that cell reprogramming increased and some cells developed heart muscle cell characteristics. Under proper conditions, other cells started beating.

"This could potentially be a safe and effective strategy for inducing human cardiac cellular reprogramming as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of ," Rosengart said.

The next step in the research is to use this new strategy to improve heart function in animal models, which the researchers have already accomplished previously with other less potent reprogramming strategies.

Explore further: How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

More information: Vivekkumar Patel et al. p63 Silencing Induces Reprogramming of Cardiac Fibroblasts into Cardiomyocyte –Like Cells, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.03.162

Related Stories

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Vitamin D may help prevent heart failure after heart attack

March 8, 2018
New research has shown how vitamin D may help protect heart tissue and prevent heart failure after a heart attack, potentially offering a low-cost addition to existing treatments for heart failure.

Scientists create heart cells better, faster, stronger

November 10, 2016
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes identified two chemicals that improve their ability to transform scar tissue in a heart into healthy, beating heart muscle. The new discovery advances efforts to find new and effective ...

Scientists describe the mechanism of heart regeneration in the zebrafish

February 12, 2018
Some animals, including the zebrafish, have a high capacity to regenerate tissues, allowing them to recovery fully after cardiac injury. During this process, the heart muscle cells divide to replace the damaged tissue. However, ...

Scientists reverse advanced heart failure in an animal model

October 4, 2017
Researchers have discovered a previously unrecognized healing capacity of the heart. In a mouse model, they were able to reverse severe heart failure by silencing the activity of Hippo, a signaling pathway that can prevent ...

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

Recommended for you

Cardiovascular disease related to type 2 diabetes can be reduced significantly

August 16, 2018
Properly composed treatment and refraining from cigarette consumption can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the New England Journal of ...

Genomic autopsy can help solve unexplained cardiac death

August 15, 2018
Molecular autopsies can reveal genetic risk factors in young people who unexpectedly die, but proper interpretation of the results can be challenging, according to a recent study published in Circulation.

Neonatal pig hearts can heal from heart attack

August 15, 2018
While pigs still cannot fly, researchers have discovered that the hearts of newborn piglets do have one remarkable ability. They can almost completely heal themselves after experimental heart attacks.

Fifty percent of cardiovascular patients suffer from multiple diseases

August 15, 2018
New research led by The University of Western Australia has revealed that one in two patients admitted to hospital with a cardiovascular disease is suffering from multiple chronic medical conditions which required complex ...

Innovative triple pill significantly lowers blood pressure, study finds

August 14, 2018
A new low dose three in one pill to treat hypertension could transform the way high blood pressure is treated around the world.

Drug repurposing study sheds light on heart disease risk

August 14, 2018
A team led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed a computational technique to reveal the unknown side effects—both good and bad—of hundreds of drugs. That knowledge could help pharmacologists discover ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.