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There has been debate over the question of whether or not heart muscle can regenerate itself. Now, UCLA scientists have provided an answer: yes. A study by Reza Ardehali, MD, PhD, assistant professor of cardiology, and colleagues has demonstrated the first direct measure of heart-muscle cells renewing themselves. The findings have important implications for future research that could lead to the regeneration of heart tissue to repair damage caused by disease or heart attack.
It was initially believed that heart-muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, were unable to replicate themselves and that their total number was set at birth; however, research over the past two decades has indicated that these cardiac cells have limited proliferative activity, though there has been no clear agreement within the scientific community as to why and how much.