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The first of three billion heartbeats begins earlier than we thought

30 August 2017 12:31

heartWhen our heart starts to beat for the first time? Until now, researchers thought that the first time, the heart muscle begins to contract on the eighth day after conception in mice, equivalent to the 21 th day of a human pregnancy.

Team funded by the British Heart Foundation at Oxford University showed earlier beating of the heart in mice embryos, which is equivalent to 16 days after conception in humans.

In a study published in the «eLife» magazine, the scientists studied the heart of rodents and found that the muscles begin to shrink after the formation of the cardiac crescent. In mice, this occurs after 7.5 days after conception, which is equivalent to the 16th day in the human embryo. Previously it was believed that the heart begins to decline later.

Congenital heart disease diagnosed at least one out of 180 births, which is about 4000 per year. Researchers hope that a better understanding of how the heart is formed in the womb, will help prevent diseases that occur with the development of the fetus.

Start beating is important for the development of the heart, and NCX1 protein plays a key role in the generation of calcium signals required for shock action organ.

Heart - the first forming body during pregnancy, plays a crucial role in providing oxygen and nutrients to the embryo. Professor Paul Riley, who led the research at the University of Oxford's Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, said: "We are trying to better understand the development of the heart, and that leads to his vices, appearing in the womb before birth. Learn how the heart begins to beat the first time, and what problems may arise in its development, we are one step closer to being able to prevent the disease. "

Professor Riley and his team hope that the results will bring them to the possibility of restoring the damaged muscle after a heart attack.

One of the main difficulties in the treatment - the new cells you need to connect and synchronize their beats with the existing fabric. After examining, as when the heart begins to beat the first time, the team found some "instructions", which can help them to transform stem cells into fully functioning heart cells in the laboratory.

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