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Diseased hearts to heal themselves in future
Date:11/11/2011

. The scientists initially noticed the high concentration of oncostatin M in tissue samples from the hearts of patients suffering from myocardial infarction. It was already known that this protein is responsible for the dedifferentiation of different cell types, among other things. The researchers therefore treated cultivated heart muscle cells with oncostatin M in the laboratory and were then able to trace the regression of the cells live under the microscope: "Based on certain changes in the cells, we were able to see that almost all heart muscle cells had been dedifferentiated within six days of treatment with oncostatin M," explains Braun. "We were also able to demonstrate the presence of various stem cell markers in the cells. This should be understood as an indicator that these cells had been switched to a repair mode."

Using a mouse infarct model, the Max Planck researchers succeeded in demonstrating that oncostatin M actually does stimulate the repair of damaged heart muscle tissue as presumed. One of the two test groups had been modified genetically in advance to ensure that the oncostatin M could not have any effect in these animals. "The difference between the two groups was astonishing. Whereas in the group in which oncostatin M could take effect almost all animals were still alive after four weeks, 40 percent of the genetically modified mice had died from the effects of the infarction," says Braun. The reason for this was that oncostatin M ensured clearly quantifiable better cardiac function in the unmodified animals.

The scientists in Bad Nauheim would now like to find a way of using oncostatin M in treatment. The aim is to strengthen the self-healing powers of the damaged heart muscle and to enable the restoration of cardiac function for the first time. The downside, however, is that oncostatin M was also observed to be counterproductive and exacerbated the damage in an experiment on a chronically diseased heart. "We believe that o
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Contact: Professor Thomas Braun
thomas.braun@mpi-bn.mpg.de
49-603-270-51102
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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Diseased hearts to heal themselves in future
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