New heart cells generated through life

New heart cells are generated throughout the human lifetime, studies have finally been able to show. By Laura James

Researchers from the Lund University Hospital, Sweden, studied the age of human cardiomyocytes by looking at the integration of carbon-14 into heart cells, generated by nuclear bomb testing in the 1950s.

The study found that the cells renew with a 1% annual turnover at age 25. This decreased to a 0.45% annual turnover at 75 years of age.

The researchers believe the findings should answer the long-standing question of whether humans generate new heart cells or are born with a set number.

Myocardial damage often leads to loss and insufficient regeneration of cardiomyocytes, therefore the study suggests research into therapeutic strategies to stimulate this process of generation is worthwhile.

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