Regenerating the heart after an attack
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Researchers show that regenerating coronary endothelial cells upregulate vegfc upon cardiac injury in adult zebrafish and that Vegfc signaling is required for their proliferation during regeneration. Notably, blocking Vegfc signaling also significantly reduces cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation and proliferation. Using transcriptomic analyses, we identified emilin2a as a target of Vegfc signaling and found that manipulation of emilin2a expression can modulate coronary revascularization as well as cardiomyocyte proliferation. Mechanistically, Emilin2a induces the expression of the chemokine gene cxcl8a in epicardium-derived cells, while cxcr1, the Cxcl8a receptor gene, is expressed in coronary endothelial cells. They further show that Cxcl8a-Cxcr1 signaling is also required for coronary endothelial cell proliferation during cardiac regeneration.

The data show that after cardiac injury, coronary endothelial cells upregulate vegfc to promote coronary network reestablishment and cardiac regeneration. Mechanistically, Vegfc signaling upregulates epicardial emilin2a and cxcl8a expression to promote cardiac regeneration. These studies aid in understanding the mechanisms underlying coronary revascularization in zebrafish, with potential therapeutic implications to enhance revascularization and regeneration in injured human hearts.