The mammalian heart has generally been considered nonregenerative, but recent progress suggests that neonatal mouse hearts have a genuine capacity to regenerate following apex resection (AR). However, in this study, we performed AR or sham surgery on 400 neonatal mice from inbred and outbred strains and found no evidence of complete regeneration. Ideally, new functional cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells should be formed in the necrotic area of the damaged heart. Here, damaged hearts were 9.8% shorter and weighed 14% less than sham controls. In addition, the resection border contained a massive fibrotic scar mainly composed of nonmyocytes and collagen disposition. Furthermore, there was a substantial reduction in the number of proliferating cardiomyocytes in AR hearts. Our results thus question the usefulness of the AR model for identifying molecular mechanisms underlying regeneration of the adult heart after damage.
Stem Cell Reports, 2014, Vol 2, Issue 4, p. 406-13