SFB1425—The heterocellular nature of cardiac lesions:: Identities, interactions, implications
Dürschmied D., Hilgendorf I., Kohl P., Rog-Zielinska E., Verheyen J.
Cardiac myocytes are pivotal for cardiac function. They take up about two thirds of the myocardial tissue volume and have been the traditional focus of cardiac cellular research. In terms of numbers, however, the significantly smaller non-myocytes dominate, with more than two times as many cells compared to cardiomyocytes, including interstitial and immune cells such as fibroblasts and macrophages, endothelial cells, adipocytes or neurons. In regions of cardiac tissue damage the fraction of non-myocytes is further increased. How do non-myocytes contribute to repair of cardiac tissue and preservation of organ function? How do they interact with other cells? Do these interactions form suitable targets for new therapeutic measures? These and other questions are addressed by the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1425 “Heterocellular nature of cardiac lesions”: the identities of non-myocytes present in the heart and their interactions are characterized in detail and the implications for innovative diagnostic and treatment approaches are investigated. A comprehensive understanding of nature’s own tissue repair processes and of the heterocellular cross-talk involved will be integrated into novel interventional approaches that do not primarily focus on regenerating cardiac muscle but more on “making better scars”. The SFB 1425 brings together 25 top-class scientists from the University Heart Center Freiburg-Bad Krozingen, the University Hospital Freiburg, the Medical, Biological and Technical Faculties of the University of Freiburg, the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg as well as from the Universities of Heidelberg, Bonn, Frankfurt and Würzburg. The consortium, established in July 2020, is supported with an initial grant of 11 million € by the German Research Foundation (DFG).