Scientists from the Institute of Research Cardiac Victor Chang, in Australia, analyzed a fish called Zebrafish, known as Paulistinha, and concluded that this species has a gene that can recover and repair the damaged heart muscle after a heart attack.

The ornamental fish gene is also present in the DNA However, it remains to be seen how to activate it. Previous studies have already pointed out that Paulistinha had this ability to recover a muscle from the heart, but there were still doubts about how it happened.

Paulistinha fish in a glass jar
Aquarium fish can be key to recovery from heart attack patients.
Image: Victor Chang Heart Research Institute

According to the study published in the scientific journal Science, the Klf1 gene makes it possible for cells of the heart divide and multiply after a heart attack, resulting in complete regeneration of the damaged muscle.

“Our research has identified a 'secret switch' that allows heart muscle cells to divide and multiply after the heart is injured [in fish]. It kicks in when needed and shuts down when the heart is fully healed. In humans, where the damaged and scarred heart muscle cannot be replaced, this can change the game ”, explains the researcher and author of the study, Kazu Kikuchi.

The Paulistinha fish shares more than 70% of the genes with the human genome, including what is being researched. O study believes that the development of a drug may be able to activate this gene.

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Kikuchi explained that the gene regresses the undamaged cells of the heart to the immature stage, a stage that allows for division and multiplication in order to replace the damaged ones.

"We hope that more research on its function can provide us with a clue to activate regeneration in human hearts, to improve their ability to pump blood through the body," added the researcher.

“The team was able to find this vitally important protein that kicks in after an event, like a heart attack, and overloads cells to heal damaged heart muscle. It is an incredible discovery ”, concluded Professor Bob Graham, head of the Division of Molecular Cardiology and Biophysics at the Institute of Cardiac Research Victor Chang.

Street: Medical Xpress

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