New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal. The discovery could lead to ground-breaking forms of treatment for heart diseases. For the first time, researchers have identified a long intergenic non-coding ribonucleic acid (lincRNA) that regulates genes controlling the ability of heart cells to undergo repair or regeneration. This novel RNA, which researchers have named "Singheart,” may be targeted for treating heart failure in the future. The discovery was made jointly by A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the National University Health System (NUHS), and was published online on August 9, 2017 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “Single Cardiomyocyte Nuclear Transcriptomes Reveal a lincRNA-Regulated De-Differentiation and Cell Cycle Stress-Response In Vivo.” Unlike most other cells in the human body, heart cells do not have the ability to self-repair or regenerate effectively, making heart attack and heart failure severe and debilitating. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 17.7 million people dying from CVD in 2015. CVD also accounted for close to 30% of all deaths in Singapore in 2015. In this project, the researchers used single cell technology to explore gene expression patterns in healthy and diseased hearts.
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