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Cardiovascular disease

Heart failure

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A zebrafish study suggests atrial cardiomyocytes can be converted to ventricular cardiomyocytes, which could be useful for treating heart failure. In zebrafish, chemically induced ventricular cardiomyocyte death resulted in proliferation and migration of atrial cardiomyocytes into ventricles. In the zebrafish, the migrating cardiomyocytes lost expression of atria-specific markers and gained expression of ventricle-specific markers, indicative of transdifferentiation, which led to recovered ventricular function. Next steps include generating ventricular cardiomyocytes in vitro from various cellular sources, including atrial cardiomyocytes, to rescue heart failure in mouse models.

SciBX 6(29); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.758
Published online Aug. 1, 2013

Unpatented; licensing not applicable

Zhang, R. et al. Nature; published online June 19, 2013;
Contact: Neil C. Chi, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif.