Controlling Cardiac Scarring Could Help Heart Tissue Regenerate
According to a study out of Virginia Tech, the potential promise of targeting non-muscle cells I the heart responsible for cardiac scarring could lead to new treatments for heart disease. When your heart is damaged from an illness or injury, the body patches it up. While the short-term fix is necessary there are ramifications in the form of scar tissue that made up that patch. The fibrotic scar tissue replaces healthy heart muscle, a problem that has led scientists across the world to ponder ways to modify the wound-healing process for the benefit of patients.
“After disease or injury, the adult mammalian heart repairs by forming a scar, while other classes of vertebrates such as amphibians and fish can regenerate injured cardiac tissue,” said one researcher. “Understanding the molecular difference between scarring and regeneration might help us develop treatments for heart disease in humans.” He continued to say, “Heart disease is the leading cause of sickness and death in the developed world. The central problem in heart disease in loss of cardiac muscle and its replacement with fibrotic non-muscle tissue.”
Fibroblasts, the cells responsible for connecting cardiac muscle, make up the fibrotic tissue. Fibroblasts support the walls of the heart in health, but they can thicken and scar in disease, hindering the heart’s ability to contract effectively and pump blood throughout the body, including to the heart muscle itself and the brain.
The emerging therapy is to “Utilize the natural reparative processes of fibroblasts to modify properties of the forming cardiac scar,” he said.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.