Induction of Cardiomyocytes by Gene Transfer (p 1147)
Injecting three transcription factors into infarcted mouse hearts can convert fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes, report Ingawa et al.
After a myocardial infarction, fibroblasts in the heart proliferate and form a tough fibrous scar. Unfortunately, in the long-term this immediate wound response can have detrimental effects on the heart. Scarring leads to reduced contractility and elasticity, forcing the heart to work harder. This can ultimately lead to heart failure and death. But what if there was a way to convert the scar tissue into functional cardiomyocytes? A number of recent reports suggest that this might in fact be possible. Inagawa et al, for example, found that injecting infarcted mouse hearts with retroviruses containing three transcription factors—Gata4, Mef2a and Tbx5—could convert a small percentage of the …