The human heart can heal itself: Scientists have finally discovered the cells involved in the repair process

Fareeha Arshad
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

In a recent study, scientists have uncovered the self-repair process in the human heart, especially after an instance heart attack. With this discovery, researchers aim to find ways that will help develop better treatment options for patients with heart issues. Scientists have discovered that the immune and lymphatic systems play a fundamental role in heart repair immediately after a heart attack.

In particular, the macrophage cells – those also help against bacterial infection and during the inflammation process – are involved in heart tissue repair. These macrophages release a specific kind of protein called the vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) that aids in forming new lymphatic cells and help in the healing process.

In a study published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Investigation’, researchers have explained that macrophages, through efferocytosis, help clear away the dying cells and thereby help heal the afflicted heart tissues. The scientists further recorded that the macrophages that produce the correct kind of VEGFC are more prone to the rapid healing of the cardiac cells.

With further work in this field, scientists aim to find ways to increase the number of macrophages in and around the heart cells to enhance the healing of heart tissues. Researchers also aim to increase their knowledge of how cardiovascular diseases happen and what is the immediate response of the body toward such a stressful condition.

Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death worldwide; therefore, better, more sensitive diagnostic methods will help detect the condition sooner. Further studies on the process of efferocytosis and the release of VEGFC protein in response to heart failure will help develop better treatment options to help repair heart muscles among patients from all age groups.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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