Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Heartfelt Commitment
09 August 2015

Heartfelt Commitment

Pumping blood around our bodies requires some serious strength, and this crucial role falls to cardiac muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. A heart attack can damage these cells and raise the risk of heart failure, but repairing the heart is no easy task; cardiomyocytes cannot renew themselves in adulthood, so research is focusing on stem cells, and on understanding how cardiac muscle develops in the first place. Early in development, the cells that eventually give rise to cardiomyocytes are unspecialised, capable of producing cardiac muscle as well as other heart tissues. However, a recent study found a key regulatory protein, Hopx, which is diagnostic of cells committed to producing only cardiomyocytes; the images represent lineage tracing of progenitor cells expressing Hopx, highlighting the cardiomyocytes which arose from them during development. Being able to identify these muscle-making cells could provide a useful tool for the development of regenerative therapies.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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.