S u m m a r y :
A newly-discovered molecule named Singheart might trigger damaged heart cells to self-repair and regenerate themselves. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
What is Singheart?
Singheart constitutes a long piece of non-coding RNA. It appears to be involved in the regulation of genes responsible for the processes of repair and regeneration in heart cells. The team of researchers, scientists from A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the National University Health System (NUHS), believe that Singheart can be used for the treatment of heart failure.
The new findings are hoped to benefit the world of science because heart failure and related diseases are specially harmful because heart cells, unlike other body cells, neither self-heal nor regenerate effectively.
Led by Roger Foo, the researchers explored gene expression in both healthy and diseased hearts using single cell technology. They detected a group of cells in diseased hearts that triggered genes associated with heart cell division, marking the first time the heterogeneity of gene expression in this type of hearts was discovered.
Another interesting finding entails “brakes” that stop heart cell division, something that then hinders self-healing. If these “brakes” could be targeted, repair of heart cells will follow.
“There has always been a suspicion that the heart holds the key to its own healing, regenerative and repair capability. But that ability seems to become blocked as soon as the heart is past its developmental stage. Our findings point to this potential block that when lifted, may allow the heart to heal itself,” says Foo.
“In contrast to a skin wound where the scab falls off and new skin grows over, the heart lacks such a capability to self-heal, and suffers a permanent scar instead. If the heart can be motivated to heal like the skin, consequences of a heart attack would be banished forever,” adds Foo.