facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Children can generate new heart cells

Jan. 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Infants, children and adolescents are capable of generating new heart muscle cells, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Bernhard Kuhn of the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children's Hospital said the findings refuted the long-held belief that the human heart grows after birth exclusively by enlargement of existing cells, and raises the possibility that scientists could stimulate production of new cells to repair injured hearts.

Since 2009, Kuhn and his team looked at specimens from healthy human hearts, ranging in age from 0-59, and documented the cells in these hearts were still dividing after birth, significantly expanding the heart cell population.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found cells regenerated at their highest rates during infancy, but while regeneration declined after infancy, it rose during the adolescent growth spurt, and continued up until around age 20.

"For more than 100 years, people have been debating whether human heart muscle cells are generated after birth or whether they simply grow larger," Kuhn said.

For many years, the accepted belief in the scientific community was that human hearts grow after birth only because cells grow larger, Kuhn added.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
2
India asks Pepsi to cut down on sugar in its soft drinks
3
Child vaccination rates are high, CDC says
4
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
5
NIH to test safety of Ebola vaccine candidate
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback