Heart-healing Fish To Help Humans

Heart Regeneration in the Mexican Cavefish
Heart Regeneration in the Mexican Cavefish (photo: Cell Reports)
By M. GraceNovember 23rd, 2018

After a human experience a heart attack, their heart's damaged muscle tissue is then replaced by non-beating scar tissue. This will leave the heart weakened and more susceptible to more problems. But, scientists claimed that there could be new hope by understanding how a heart-healing fish able to heal its own heart.

In a report by News Atlas on November 22, it has mentioned that tetra fish are known as Astyanax Mexicanus that lied in Northern Mexico rivers about 1.5 million years ago and can still be found today.

These Astyanax Mexicanus species of fish are capable of regrowing their beating heart tissue. Thus, a research team from the University of Oxford set out to examine these species. A paper on the research was published in journal Cell Reports with the title "Heart Regeneration in the Mexican Cavefish."

"The scientists then looked to the zebrafish, which is commonly used in scientific studies. Like the river tetras, it's also ordinarily able to regrow its own heart. When the researchers inactivated lrrc10 in zebrafish, however, the animals lost that ability," News Atlas reported."Based on these findings, is now hoped that eventually, treatment involving the gene could be used to help humans recover from heart attacks." 

"A real challenge until now was comparing heart damage and repair in fish with what we see in humans. But by looking at river fish and cavefish side by side, we've been able to pick apart the genes responsible for heart regeneration," Dr. Mathilda Mommersteeg, who spearheaded the research team, said. "It's early days but we're incredibly excited about these remarkable fish and the potential to change the lives of people with damaged hearts."

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