Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Paracrine Signaling in the Heart

We need to improve the understanding of the molecular and physiological bases of paracrine signaling of heart, and use the knowledge gained to develop improved, effective approaches to diagnose, treat, and prevent cardiac disorders.

Tags (Keywords associated with the idea)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Although myocytes comprise approximately three-fourths of the entire volume of mammalian ventricles, they account for only about one-third of all myocardial cells. Ninety percent of the remaining myocardial cells are cardiac fibroblasts which are located primarily in the interstitium. Understanding how complex paracrine signals interact at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels continues to be a challenge to investigators. Clearly, the cardiac fibroblast plays an important role in signaling by its ability to respond to a wide variety of chemical signals that are involved in the paracrine regulation of cardiac function. These and other cardiac paracrine signaling pathways need to be better elucidated before specific clinical interventions targeting them are developed.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This is presently an understudied area of research. Studies however suggest that paracrine factors released from fibroblasts are likely to play an important role in modulation of heart growth and function. This may be especially so in regulation of STEM cell differentiation and following insults to the adult heart.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff


13 net votes
27 up votes
14 down votes
Idea No. 16