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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Human body regenerates heart cells: Study

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 19:25:29 GMT | PressTV

A study using Carbon-14 dating method has shown that human body can regenerate heart cells at a rate of about one percent a year.

Conducted by Sweden's Karolinska Institute researchers, the study has raised hopes for the artificial stimulation of the renewal process and reducing the need for transplants in future.

"It would be a way to try and help the heart to some self-help rather than transplanting new cells," Jonas Frisen of Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a telephone interview.

"Taking advantage of the heart's own capacity to generate new cells either using pharmaceutical compounds or, if it is possible, by exercise or any other environmental factor."

Heart cells stop dividing early in life and although there are stem cells in the heart, its muscle just forms scar tissue and never fully regenerates.

Scientists also found that the rate at which our body regenerates heart cells slows by time reducing to half a percent a year by the age of 75, Reuters reported.

"If you exchange cells at this rate it means that even if you live a very long life you will not have exchanged more than 50 percent of your cells," said Frisen.

"So at any given time your heart is a mosaic of cells you carry with you from birth and cells that that have been added later to replace cells that have been lost during life."

According to the study reported in the journal Science, the heart's ability to regenerate cells could help find out whether people are susceptible to heart disease or not.

"We are interested in studying whether some heart diseases could potentially be caused by too low an ability to replace heart cells," said Frisen.

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