Small Peptide Could Heal Broken Hearts | June 13, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 24 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 24 | p. 33 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 13, 2011

Small Peptide Could Heal Broken Hearts

Thymosin β4 prods undifferentiated heart cells to morph into cardiomyocytes that could help repair tissue damage
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: stem cell, cardiomyocyte, heart attack, peptide
[+]Enlarge
Heart progenitor cells (green) can be induced to become mature cardiomyocytes (one shown in yellow) using a peptide prodder; each cell is approximately 20 µm wide.
Credit: Paul Riley
aSA_GFP_Cx43
 
Heart progenitor cells (green) can be induced to become mature cardiomyocytes (one shown in yellow) using a peptide prodder; each cell is approximately 20 µm wide.
Credit: Paul Riley

A broken heart may one day be able to mend itself with the help of a small peptide that prods undifferentiated heart cells to morph into new heart muscle, according to a report in Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nature10188). Heart attacks currently lead to permanent heart damage, but the discovery by Paul R. Riley of University College London and colleagues sets the stage for scientists to develop a treatment that could enable hearts to produce new cardiomyocytes and self-repair the damage. Riley’s team worked with a peptide called thymosin β4 that had previously been shown to help outer-layer heart cells cope with injury. The researchers found that thymosin β4 induced outer-layer progenitor cells in mice to differentiate into cardiomyocytes that could “structurally and functionally integrate with resident muscle.” The putative peptide drug is unlikely to land in the clinic, however, unless scientists can get it to produce greater quantities of cardiomyocytes, they note.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment