Research Horizons


NATURE: One Way Stem Cells Actually Help Hearts Heal

Macrophages to the Rescue

Injecting living or even dead heart stem cells into the injured hearts of mice triggers an acute inflammatory process, which in turn generates a wound healing-like response to enhance the mechanical properties of the injured area.

So reports a new study, led by experts at Cincinnati Children’s, published Nov. 27, 2019, in the journal Nature.

Mediated by macrophage cells of the immune system, this secondary healing process provided a modest benefit to heart function after heart attack, according to Jeffery Molkentin, PhD, principal investigator, Director of Molecular Cardiovascular Microbiology at Cincinnati Children’s, and a professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Molkentin and colleagues also noted an interesting finding involving zymosan, a compound that binds with select pattern recognition receptors to cause an acute innate immune response.

Next, scientists plan to look for more ways to leverage the healing properties of the stem cells and compounds they tested.

Read More

See coverage in The Scientist

Learn more about Molkentin’s previous work on cardiac stem cells
—Article written by Nick Miller
Publication Information
Original title: An acute immune response underlies the benefit of cardiac stem cell therapy
Published in: Nature
Publish date: Nov. 27, 2019
Read the study

Research By

Jeffery Molkentin, PhD
Executive Co-Director, Heart Institute
Our laboratory investigates a range of focus areas, all of which center on understanding the molecular mechanisms of heart and skeletal muscle disease