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Oxygen diminishes the heart's ability to regenerate, researchers discover
Date:4/24/2014

the heart's ability to regenerate.

"The choice was clear," said Dr. Sadek. "More than any organ in the body, the heart needs to be energy efficient in order to pump blood throughout life."

Heart muscle contains the highest amount of mitochondria in the body and consumes 30 percent of the body's total oxygen in a resting state alone. Unfortunately, the energy that comes from massive oxygen consumption comes with a price in the form of oxidation of DNA that makes the heart cells unable to divide and regenerate.

Dr. Sadek, along with co-first authors Dr. Bao "Robyn" Puente, postdoctoral trainee in Pediatrics, and Dr. Wataru Kimura, visiting senior researcher in Internal Medicine, found that if they subjected mice to a low-oxygen atmosphere, the cardiomyocytes divided longer than normal. The opposite was true when mice were born in a higher-oxygenated atmosphere. In that case, the cardiomyocytes stopped dividing earlier than normal.

This study comes on the heels of findings published in the Feb. 25, 2011, edition of Science, in which Dr. Sadek found that if a portion of a mouse heart was removed during the first week after birth, that portion grew back wholly and correctly. In contrast, an adult heart was irreversibly damaged by removal of even a small amount of tissue.

Because the adult mammal's heart is not able to regenerate following injury, this represents a major barrier in cardiovascular medicine. Having a promising new understanding of what arrests cardiomyocyte cell cycle could be an important component of cardiomyocyte proliferation-based therapeutic approaches.


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Contact: Lisa Warshaw
lisa.warshaw@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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