Blood from future mothers can help repair heart

An important finding by a group of researchers from Trieste has been published in Nature Communications regarding the ability of while blood cells named "T cell regulators" to control the proliferation of heart cells. The results of the study show how T regultory cells, known to date for their modulatory effect in the immune response, also directly control the development of the heart and the modificaitons that this organ undergoes during pregnancy. Growth factors produced by regulatory T cells also stimulate the regeneration of the heart after infarction, opening up new avenues for research and novel therapeutic prospects.

The study is the work of the Research Group headed by Serena ZacchignaUniversity of Trieste and of Mauro Giacca, ICGEB Director-General, and shows how the regulatory T cells, responsible for the immunitary tolerance of the mother with regard to the fetus cells, sustain the proliferation of cardiomiocytes during embryonal development. The heart also increases in size during pregnancy, suggesting that these cells produce a series of factors that increase the proliferation of cardiac cells. When injected after infarction, these same factors stimulate the regeneration of heard tissue and thereby repair of the damage.

Further Reading:

Nature Communications 9, Art. 2432 (2018) "Paracrine effect of regulatory T cells promotes cardiomyocyte proliferation during pregnancy and after myocardial infarction" by Serena Zacchigna, Valentina Martinelli, Silvia Moimas, Andrea Colliva, Marco Anzini, Andrea Nordio, Alessia Costa, Cristina Pierro, Giulia Colussi, Michael Rehman, Simone Vodret, Lorena Zentilin, Maria Ines Gutierrez, Ellen Dirkx, Carlin Long, Gianfranco Sinagra, David Klatzmann, and Mauro Giacca 

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