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The Art in Science

Product Image Happy Heart

Happy Heart

The cells that compose the muscular heart wall are called cardiac myofibers. These cells are tubular in nature and are connected together end to end. This is an image of a cross section of cardiac muscle of a newborn mouse heart. Here, the individual muscle cells are labeled in green, the nucleus is blue and the cell membranes are outlined in red. Coordinated contractions of these cells pump blood throughout the body. For years, scientists thought that cardiac myofibers never regenerate. However, newer studies show that up to the age of 20, we regenerate about 1% of our cardiac muscle cells every year. Recently, investigators have succeeded in generating contracting cardiac myofibers in a culture dish, starting from cells called embryonic stem cells. Soon, it will be possible to use such cells to repair injured or diseased hearts. 

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