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Heart valves & zebrafish

Scientists at Imperial College London, UK, have made new discoveries about how heart valves grow and develop (see video).

The team, in collaboration with French researchers at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), and the University of Strasbourg, used zebrafish embryos to identify what happens during the development of the valves.

The findings, in Science, showed that alongside mechanisms that were already known to generate heart valve tissue, there is another mechanism working in parallel to determine the shape and function of the valves.

“We have discovered a pathway that’s crucial for heart valve development, and our findings could help to inform the future prevention and treatment of diseases of the heart valves,” said leading author of the study Julien Vermot.

Further steps include repeating the research in other organisms, like mice and humans, and looking at how their findings might translate into tissue engineering to correct faulty valves.


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