JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and German researchers have successfully tested a new treatment for heart repair in pigs, the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Israel said on Tuesday.
In a study, published in the journal Circulation, WIS researchers, in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich, found that a human protein called Agrin could limit scarring in the heart muscle.
This means that Agrin might serve as an effective therapy after heart attacks, promoting heart repair and helping to prevent chronic heart failure, it said.
The team has also clarified Agrin's mechanisms of action, which turned out to be similar in mice and pigs, indicating that it's likely to work similarly in all mammals, including humans.
In their experiments, the researchers administered a synthetic form of Agrin to the hearts of pigs that had been exposed to an injury simulating a heart attack.
It was found that a single dose of Agrin reduced scarring and improved heart function after the injury, with the heart's pumping capacity significantly enhanced.
In addition, the treatment prevented the rise of pressure in the heart's main pumping chamber, which grows after a heart attack.
Since this parameter is a predictor of the subsequent risk of heart failure, the researchers suggested that Agrin could serve as a preventive therapy against this major complication of heart attacks.
In addition, Agrin beneficially altered the immune response to the injury within the heart muscle, and protected existing blood vessels, stimulating the growth of new ones. Enditem