Intrinsic heart regeneration in adult vertebrates may be strictly limited to low-metabolic ectotherms

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The heart has a high‐metabolic rate, and its “around‐the‐clock” vital role to sustain life sets it apart in a regenerative setting from other organs and appendages. The landscape of vertebrate species known to perform intrinsic heart regeneration is strongly biased toward ectotherms—for example, fish, salamanders, and embryonic/neonatal ectothermic mammals. It is hypothesized that intrinsic heart regeneration is exclusively limited to the low‐metabolic hearts of ectotherms. The biomedical field of regenerative medicine seeks to devise biologically inspired regenerative therapies to diseased human hearts. Falsification of the ectothermy dependency for heart regeneration hypothesis may be a crucial prerequisite to meaningfully seek inspiration in established ectothermic regenerative animal models. Otherwise, engineering approaches to construct artificial heart components may constitute a more viable path toward regenerative therapies. A more strict definition of regenerative phenomena is generated and several testable sub‐hypotheses and experimental avenues are put forward to elucidate the link between heart regeneration and metabolism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2000054
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • axolotl, comparative physiology, ectotherm, endotherm, heart regeneration, metabolism, zebrafish

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