Scientists have found that the “love hormone” can really heal your coronary heart

Scientists have found that the “love hormone” can really heal your coronary heart

The concept of heart treatment in cardiology

Analysis has proven that oxytocin has cardiac properties.

Oxytocin, typically known as the “love hormone,” might someday assist heal a broken coronary heart after a coronary heart assault, researchers have discovered.

The neurohormone oxytocin is well known to strengthen social bonds and induce pleasurable emotions, corresponding to these related to intercourse, train, or artwork. Nevertheless, the hormone has many different features, such because the regulation of lactation and uterine contractions in girls, and the regulation of ejaculation, sperm transport, and testosterone manufacturing in males.

Now scientists from Michigan State College demonstrated that oxytocin performs one other, beforehand unknown, perform in zebrafish and human cell cultures: it stimulates the stem cells of the outer layer of the center (epicardium) emigrate into its center layer (myocardium), the place they flip into cardiomyocytes, muscle cells. which trigger coronary heart contractions. This discovering might someday be used to regenerate the human coronary heart after a coronary heart assault. The researchers’ findings have been just lately printed in a journal Frontiers of cell and developmental biology.

“Right here we present that oxytocin, a neuropeptide also called the love hormone, is ready to activate cardiac restore mechanisms in broken zebrafish hearts and human cell cultures, opening the door to potential new therapies for cardiac regeneration in people,” stated Dr. Aitor Aguirre, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan State College and senior creator of the research.

Stem cells can replenish cardiomyocytes

After a coronary heart assault, cardiomyocytes usually die in giant numbers. They can’t replenish themselves, as they’re extremely specialised cells. Nevertheless, earlier analysis has proven {that a} portion of epicardial cells might be reprogrammed to grow to be stem cells generally known as epicardial progenitor cells (EpiPCs), which may regenerate not solely cardiomyocytes but in addition different kinds of coronary heart cells.

“Consider EpiPC because the masons who repaired cathedrals in Europe within the Center Ages,” Aguirre defined.

Sadly, underneath pure circumstances, the manufacturing of EpiPCs is ineffective for human coronary heart regeneration.

Zebrafish might train us to restore our hearts extra successfully

Enter the zebrafish: recognized for his or her extraordinary means to regenerate organs together with the mind, retina, inside organs, bones and pores and skin. They don’t undergo from coronary heart assaults, however many predators are pleased to chunk off any organ, together with the center, so a zebra can regenerate its coronary heart if 1 / 4 of it’s misplaced. That is partly attributable to cardiomyocyte proliferation, but in addition attributable to EpiPC. However how does EpiPC zebrafish restore the center so successfully? And will we discover a “magic bullet” in zebrafish that might artificially enhance EpiPC manufacturing in people?

Sure, and this “magic bullet” appears to be oxytocin, the authors declare.

To achieve this conclusion, the authors discovered that in zebrafish, inside three days of cryotrauma—coronary heart harm attributable to freezing—the expression of the messenger[{” attribute=””>RNA for oxytocin increases up to 20-fold in the brain. They further showed that this oxytocin then travels to the zebrafish epicardium and binds to the oxytocin receptor, triggering a molecular cascade that stimulates local cells to expand and develop into EpiPCs. These new EpiPCs then migrate to the zebrafish myocardium to develop into cardiomyocytes, blood vessels, and other important heart cells, to replace those which had been lost.

A similar effect on human tissue cultures

Crucially, the authors showed that oxytocin has a similar effect on human tissue in vitro. Oxytocin – but none of 14 other neurohormones tested here – stimulates cultures of human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hIPSCs) to become EpiPCs, at up to twice the basal rate: a much stronger effect than other molecules previously shown to stimulate EpiPC production in mice. Conversely, genetic knock-down of the oxytocin receptor prevented the regenerative activation of human EpiPCs in culture. The authors also showed that the link between oxytocin and the stimulation of EpiPCs is the important ‘TGF-β signaling pathway’, known to regulate the growth, differentiation, and migration of cells.

Aguirre said: “These results show that it is likely that the stimulation by oxytocin of EpiPC production is evolutionary conserved in humans to a significant extent. Oxytocin is widely used in the clinic for other reasons, so repurposing for patients after heart damage is not a long stretch of the imagination. Even if heart regeneration is only partial, the benefits for patients could be enormous.”

Aguirre concluded: “Next, we need to look at oxytocin in humans after cardiac injury. Oxytocin itself is short-lived in circulation, so its effects in humans might be hindered by that. Drugs specifically designed with a longer half-life or more potency might be useful in this setting. Overall, pre-clinical trials in animals and clinical trials in humans are necessary to move forward.”

Reference: “Oxytocin promotes epicardial cell activation and heart regeneration after cardiac injury” by Aaron H. Wasserman, Amanda R. Huang, Yonatan R. Lewis-Israeli, McKenna D. Dooley, Allison L. Mitchell, Manigandan Venkatesan and Aitor Aguirre, 30 September 2022, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.
DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2022.985298

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Spectrum-MSU Foundation. 

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