The human heart can heal itself: Scientists now know which muscles are involved in heart repair

Fareeha Arshad

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When it comes to self-healing, our body takes care of itself independently. In the past few decades, scientists have been keen on understanding how the heart heals itself post heart attack and the cardiac muscles involved. This effort has been taken to develop treatment options that would help some major cardiovascular issues among most people.

As per a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists have investigated the lymphatic system, a part of the human immune system that is fundamental to helping the heart muscles repair the damages persistent after a major heart attack.

In addition, the scientists also discovered macrophages, a group of cells that become immediately active after a heart attack. These macrophages produce a particular type of protein called the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that supports angiogenesis, the development process of new blood vessels. Mainly, these proteins promote the formation of new lymphatic vessels that aid in mending the cardiac muscles.

The scientists further added that there are two broad types of macrophages, one group that produces VEGF protein and the other that does not produce any VEGF protein. Instead, this second group becomes active during an inflammatory response and therefore causes more damage to the heart tissues.

Regardless, macrophages also play an essential role in efferocytosis, a process that helps remove the dead cells from the surroundings so that the damaged tissues like cardiac muscles can heal well. Therefore, further works remain to be done to find ways that will help increase the number of helpful macrophages around the heart muscles after a major attack and reduce the damaging macrophages from the surrounding. This way, the heart healing process can be increased, and the chances of heart failure can be reduced.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

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