NOV 28, 2016 11:31 AM PST

How the Heart Hardens, Biologically

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Survivors of heart attacks or other damage to the heart sometimes finding their heart hardening, quite literally. The process, known as cardiac calcification, is poorly understood. But scientists are taking incremental steps at understanding how heart cells turn into bone.

To understand this process, scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles studied mice hearts after it damage. Using a variety of tagging techniques, they watched cardiac fibroblasts - cells that give rise to scars after injury - turn into bone-forming cells. The same injured cells, if transplanted to a healthy mouse, can also stimulate mineralization.

Now that researchers have an understanding of the process, the next steps will be to find ways to stop or even reverse heart calcification. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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