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Novel insights into cardiac regeneration through studies in the zebrafish

Final Report Summary - ZEBRAHEART (Novel insights into cardiac regeneration through studies in the zebrafish)

The summary should be a stand-alone description of the project and its outcomes. This text should be as concise as possible and suitable for dissemination to non-specialist audiences. Please notice that this summary will be published.

Unlike mammals, zebrafish can regenerate their hearts after severe injury. During heart regeneration, the outer layer of the heart, the epicardium, forms a tissue layer covering the injured area. Immune cells infiltrate the site of damage and fibrotic tissue becomes deposited. This is followed by the re-newal of the lost myocardium. The project zebraheart aimed to unravel some of the cellular mechanisms involved in heart regeneration. One important question was to understand, where the fibrotic tissue was originating from, how it was degraded and if there was a role of the initial fibrotic response in controlling subsequent regeneration. Furthermore, zebraheart aimed to understand better the role of infiltrating macrophages and origin of the new myocardium. The project allowed to unravel that during regeneration an immune response and fibrosis are key responses that are necessary to trigger a regenerative response. It also showed, that while not all cardiomyocytes contribute with an equal efficiency to heart regeneration, there is a high degree of plasticity in the zebrafish heart that allows to rebuild the lost myocardium from multiple cardiomyocyte sources. Overall, zebraheart has allowed to gain a deeper understanding on the cell types involved in heart regeneration and their interactions.