Researchers Identify a New Form of Heart Cell

Glial cells, which can be found in the nervous system, play an important role for normal function and development. Based on the main function, they are divided into subtypes, including astroglia, microglia, and ensheathing glia.

A recent study has discovered a new form of glial cell in the heart, which would help explain several cardiac diseases and congenital abnormalities. The findings were published in PLOS Biology by scientists from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the United States. Using tissue from humans, mice, and zebrafish, the group of authors highlighted an area of the heart that shelters these cells. The discovery was consistent across different species.

In general, neuronal cells in the central nervous system precede those in the autonomic nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Therefore, the scientists looked for the origin of these cells before they penetrate the heart. With the zebrafish model, they verified that glial cells were originated from the neural crest in the hindbrain. The glial cells started moving into the heart after 1 day of fertilization of the embryos. Within 4 days, they had populated a heart region called the outflow tract.

To confirm the hypothesis that glial cells control autonomic functions of the heart, the scientists removed the cells across different species. The removed samples, on average, had increased heart rates of around 20 bpm. This is also known as ventricular tachycardia.

Because ventricular tachycardia happens when ionic activity in the outflow tract is imbalanced, the researchers wanted to find out whether the main cause is the lack of cardiac nexus glia in the area. To test it, the authors removed cardiac nexus glia in other areas, especially the atrium. The result showed that no special effects on overall heart rate. This verifies the significant of cardiac nexus glia in the outflow tract.

It is worth noting that around 30 percent of congenital heart abnormalities is directly associated with outflow tract dysfunction. Nevertheless, it is still unknown whether this is particularly because of a deviance of cardiac nexus glia in the process of development.

In spite of these new experimental results on cardiac function and astroglial manipulation, whether it translates to heart issues in humans is still unclear. The scientists believe that it may be a complicated interaction of lifestyle and genetic factors. Therefore, further research is needed to learn more about these links.


Related Articles

What Causes Common Warts

Your Health
Common warts are rough, raised, and grainy growths on the skin. They can happen anywhere on your body, but mostly on the hands or...

10 Important Symptoms of Vasculitis

Ailments & Conditions
Vasculitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the blood vessels. As a result, the walls of the vessels may become thicker, which makes...

10 Common Treatments of Vitiligo

Your Health
Vitiligo is a quite common autoimmune condition that is characterized by discolored skin patches. It causes the skin to lose its pigmentation with mistaken...

What You Should Know about Wrist Weights

Fitness & Wellness
What Are Wrist Weights? Along with ankle weights, wrist weights are useful options for your workout routine. They are weighted and wide straps that can...

Ventricular Tachycardia – Symptoms and Causes

Ailments & Conditions
Overview Ventricular tachycardia is a condition in which a very fast heart rhythm starts in the heart’s two lower chambers, known as ventricles. It typically...

Possible Effects about Sleep Deprivation

Ailments & Conditions
Sleep deprivation is a condition in which you do not get a sufficient amount of sleep each night. This would make you feel less...

Types of Depression

Ailments & Conditions
We all go through mood changes with periods of grief and deep sadness. However, when they last longer than usual or disrupt your daily...

10 Common Heartburn(Acid Reflux) Symptoms

Ailments & Conditions
Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning or hot feeling in your central chest. It's caused by acid reflux. In some cases, it would be very...