Heart research finding at LJMU

Share Button

LJMU’s research team behind the new study Copyright: LJMU

Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University have suggested a new theory that treadmill running could produce new heart muscle cells.

The study, which is funded by the British Heart Foundation, was carried out by the The Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology Unit (Biostem) at LJMU’s Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Heart disease is the largest killer of people within the UK, with one in three deaths said to be due to heart or circulatory disease. The British Heart Foundation suggests more than 191,000 deaths a year are believed to be caused by heart disease, with an estimated cost of £30 billion pound to the economy.

The report, which was published in this month’s edition of the European Heart Journal, was also published in the Saturday edition of the Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

The article suggests that exercise stimulated the activation of the reproduction of heart stem cells were increased after just two weeks of exercise training, and some of these become new heart muscle cells.

It is thought that this study proves that muscle cell growth can not only maintain a healthy heart, but also improve heart function through exercising.

The study team also hopes to use the information to develop and inform future therapies that can be used in both treatment and prevention of heart disease and function.

LJMU’s Dr Georgina M. Ellison, Senior Lecturer in Cellular Molecular Physiology at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, led the study. She said: “Everyone knows the benefits of exercise to maintain a healthy heart. Our research suggests there may also be a role for physical activity in regeneration of the heart.”

BHF Associate Medical Director Professor Jeremy Pearson said: “This study adds to the growing evidence that adult hearts may be able to make new muscle from dormant stem cells. This research supports the hope of our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal that scientists will be able to design ways that, for the first time, will genuinely help to mend failing hearts.”

About Daniel Farrell, JMU Journalism