Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Heart Regeneration
25 January 2016

Heart Regeneration

If a person suffers a heart attack and survives, chances are their heart muscle will never be quite the same. Indeed, the associated scarring often results in permanent damage that can lead to heart failure and eventual death. Scientists are therefore searching for possible ways to promote regeneration of damaged hearts, and it’s possible that newborn mice may hold the answer. For a few weeks after birth, these animals can almost entirely regenerate their heart tissue after an injury. And new research suggests a key process that may be critical for this regenerative ability: regrowth of nerves. Blocking nerve growth specifically in experimental animals completely prevented the regrowth of damaged heart tissue. In control animals, the nerves regrew into their normal branching patterns—like those pictured. Thus if researchers are to have any hope of regenerating adult hearts after injury, their best bet might be to boost accompanying nerve growth.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.