Can the zebrafish teach us how to repair scarred heart muscle tissue?

The role of inflammatory cell signalling during cardiac scar formation and regression in adult zebrafish

Rebecca Richardson (lead researcher)

Bristol, University of

Start date: 01 July 2015 (Duration 4 years)

Unlike us, zebrafish can heal damage to their heart remarkably well. Although heart injury in the zebrafish can result in a scar, this later disappears and it is replaced by new, functional heart tissue. In humans, white blood cells, which travel to sites of injury and clear the wound of bacteria and debris, also help other types of cell produce a scar. It is possible that white blood cells may function in a Jekyll and Hyde fashion in zebrafish and help to remove the scar from its heart. By unravelling this process in zebrafish, we may reveal clues to how we can repair damage to human hearts.

Dr Rebecca Richardson has worked in Professor Paul Martin’s research group at the University of Bristol since October 2012. She has now been awarded a BHF Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship.

In her fellowship, Rebecca aims to work out how fish can remove scar tissue that has formed at a site of heart muscle damage. She will work out which cells are involved in forming and remodelling the scar, before working out exactly how they do this, and which genes and associated signalling pathways are involved.

This research may reveal new ways to encourage our own hearts to recover better, and even prevent scar tissue forming or remove it following a heart attack.

Project details

Grant amount £536,838
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship
Start Date 01 July 2015
Duration 4 years
Reference FS/15/2/31225
Status In progress

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