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Repairing the heart

Myocardial infarction (MI) cause heart ischemia and subsequent necrosis where billions of cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) are lost and replaced by extensive fibrotic scarring. This in turn reduces proper pump function eventually leading to heart failure, a major cause of death worldwide.

Particularly the Andersen group:

In contrast to mammals, zebrafish have an amazing capacity to regenerate their heart following MI through cardiomyocyte renewal. Likewise, the mammalian heart forms during cardiac development through cardiomyocyte proliferation. Yet, this ability for cardiomyocyte division is lost soon after birth and remains a key challenge for regenerating the infarcted heart.

Our project REPHEART1 aims to dissect why the adult mammalian heart lost this ability to regenerate in order to identify target genes for future MI regenerative therapy. For this, we employ transgenic mice and zebrafish, heart injury models as well as human samples, and combine many different techniques (flow cytometry, single cell RNA sequencing, epigenetic mapping, confocal imaging, in vitro and in vivo virus mediated gene manipulation and many others) in our continues search for genes that improve cardiomyocyte proliferation.


Remodeling cardiac fibroblasts in MI are the main effectors of the devastating fibrotic response after MI. Our project REPHEART2 seeks to identify targets that may be manipulated to reduce heart fibrosis. To this end, we use human heart biopsies, pericardial specimens and -fluids to detect participating molecules and evaluate their involvement in cardiac fibrosis using transgenic mouse heart disease models, pump function assessment (positron emission tomography (PET)), vessel trajectory tools (computer tomography (CT)), scar size histology, in vitro primary cell culture, etc.).


At Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark, we have a strong interdisciplinary union between basic scientists and clinicians with the aim of developing and implementing novel stem cell therapies. As cell biologists, the Andersen group participates in several clinical stem cell trials to treat different diseases, and we have established and run an easily accessible GMP cell culture and cell isolation facility at Odense University Hospital (referred to as OUH-CELL-BENCH) which is OPEN to researchers and SMEs in Denmark .




Last Updated 23.09.2021