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Fixing a Broken Heart: Scientists Try to Regenerate Mammal Heart Using Zebrafish

Nov 24, 2016 03:43 AM EST
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Scientists are currently in pursuit of treatments that could overcome multiple heart diseases including the dreaded broken heart syndrome.
(Photo : Nasa/Getty Images)

After a terrible break-up, most people joke about dying from a broken heart. This notion however is more than mere hyperbole. According to the American Heart Association, it is actually possible to physically suffer from heartbreak. Broken heart syndrome, otherwise known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, usually does not choose who it strikes. Even if you are healthy, any form of stress might induce an attack.

Nevertheless, scientists are currently in pursuit of treatments that could overcome multiple heart diseases including the dreaded broken heart syndrome. Recently, a team of scientists led by Yadong Wang, from the Swanson School of Engineering, published a report detailing the possibility of organ regeneration amongst higher forms of mammals.

Lower life forms on the planet are able to replace tissue, limbs and even organs when they become injured. Wang and his team used the cellualar scaffolding of a zebrafish in order to test if mammals would be able to regenerate heart tissues.

The test mouse suffered an acute myocardial infarction prior to the experiment. The zebrafish's cellular scaffolding was introduced  to the mouse's afflicted heart. The results demonstrated that upon administration the heart began functioning normally almost immediately. In a week, scientists discovered that the heart of the test mouse already beats faster and stronger than those that are left untreated.

"The heart beats as if nothing has happened to it. And our approach is really simple" gushed Wang as reported by Eureka Alert.

Wang was quick to explain however that while the premise of their experiment was relatively simple the processes they had to endeavor were a little trickier than they imagined. According to the scientist, the problem lies with trying to introduce the foreign cells to the afflicted mouse:

"It's difficult to inject foreign cells into a body because the body will recognize them as foreign and reject them"

At present, Wang and his team are working towards regeneration of nerves in mammals. 

 

 

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