When having a heart attack, and damage to the heart muscle cells as a result, can the love hormone “oxytocin” help in the regeneration of heart muscle cells? Can the “love hormone” be used to treat the heart after a myocardial infarction?
This is what was presented in a recent study by researchers from the Department of Stem Cell Biology and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University in the United States, in the last September issue of the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.
The study was entitled “Oxytocin enhances the activation of regeneration of cardiac cells after heart injury.” The researchers hope that this discovery will be a way to begin exploring new ways to help patients in the future restore heart muscle cells lost due to a heart attack.
On the other hand, these results may reinforce the positive role of the positive psychological feelings of the heart patient, his family bonding, and the affection and love of his life partner, in improving his health condition, supporting his medication intake, and his interest in practicing healthy behaviors in his daily life.
Many medical sources describe oxytocin as the hormone of love, in order to bring closer the awareness of a number of its functions in the body, related to enhancing bonding and positive psychological mood. Therefore, its level in the body is increased through activities that connect the mind and body, which we often find enjoyable and – or satisfying.
In Harvard Medical School Women’s Health articles, “Oxytocin can help us bond with our loved ones, and it can be released through touch, music and exercise,” Executive Editor Stephanie Watson says in her article “Oxytocin: The Love Hormone” (July 20, 2021). .
It is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus in the brain, and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Its main function is to facilitate childbirth (and control postpartum uterine bleeding), which is one of the reasons why it is called the love hormone.
Sometimes, oxytocin is given to women whose labor is slowing down, to speed up the process. Once the baby is born, oxytocin helps move milk from the ducts in the breast to the nipple, strengthening the bond between mother and baby. Our bodies also produce oxytocin when we are excited about our sexual partner, and when we fall in love.
This is also why it has earned the nickname the love hormone. Previous research has also shown that oxytocin has a positive effect on the heart, including helping to lower blood pressure.
Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death worldwide. Where recent global statistics confirm that annually, approximately 18.6 (eighteen point six) million people die worldwide due to cardiovascular diseases.
Coronary Artery Disease is the most common type of heart disease, causing death and disability. This heart disease arises when fat and cholesterol (plaque) build up inside the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle itself.
With the emergence of these narrowing in the coronary artery ducts, sufficient amounts of blood do not pass through them to feed the heart muscle and provide it with oxygen. As a result, the heart does not receive the blood and oxygen it needs, especially when the demand for it is high during physical exertion or emotional excitement.
This is what causes a person to suffer, either with attacks of angina pectoris, when the blood flow to the heart muscle “reduces” through the “narrowed” coronary arteries, or suffering from a heart attack, when the blood supply to the heart muscle completely “stops” from Through the “completely clogged” coronary arteries. These are cases that threaten the safety of the patient’s life, and cause myocardial infarction, that is, damage and death of heart muscle cells, and thus weakening of its strength.
Historically, scientists believed that cardiomyocytes could not regenerate, and new cells did not grow to replace those damaged, which means that any heart muscle cells that a person lost during a heart attack will not be able to recover them later over time.
However, newer research shows that heart muscle cells may be able to regenerate, which opens great hope for patients, and requires medical researchers to make efforts to know the chemical agents and compounds that have the ability to stimulate the regeneration process of heart muscle cells.
The researchers based their study and their future hopes on the following three premises:
> The decisive work in the last two decades has shown that the lost heart muscle cells can be partially regenerated by a complex process carried out by the epicardium cell layer, which is the outer outer layer of the heart, in a process that summarizes its vital role, which is not well studied until today. in the growth of the heart.
> When a heart attack occurs, and cardiomyocytes are damaged, mature cardiac membrane cells activate and enter into a complex series of EMT transformation processes, to form primitive cells of the lineage of EpiPCs, that is, multipotent progenitors, capable of producing Cardiac muscle cells and vascular cells of the heart.
> In normal cases, this process alone is not sufficient for the significant regeneration required to cover the lost heart muscle cells as a result of a heart attack. But it is possible to amplify this process, and its results, by administering specific reprogramming factors to enhance the activity of these primitive cells, so that new cardiomyocytes are produced in sufficient quantities.
In the recent study, the Michigan State University team of researchers presented evidence that the hormone oxytocin may help stimulate cardiomyocytes regeneration. The researchers believe this finding may one day help restore lost heart muscle cells in people who have had a heart attack.
“Cell regeneration is a process that requires a lot of energy and severely restricts heart function, so we thought there should be some sort of central control,” said Dr. Aitor Aguirre, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University and lead author of the study.
Rather than being a completely independent localized process that takes place in the heart tissue.” “Our informed guess, based on what is known about central control of other critical processes in the body, was that the brain controls this via neuroendocrine pathways,” he added.
With this in mind, we selected about 20 important neuroendocrine hormones, and examined their ability to activate cardiac cell layer stem cells, which are involved in cardiac regeneration. We found that oxytocin was the most important.
Dr. Aguirre and his team used human tissue in the lab to study how oxytocin helps stimulate stem cells, created from heart membrane cells, to develop into cardiomyocytes. Dr. Aguirre explained, “Oxytocin reprograms a group of adult cells in the outer layers of a heart membrane, and turns them into stem cells. These stem cells then travel to the deeper layers of the heart muscle. There, the damaged parts are repaired, by releasing healing factors and transforming them into heart muscle cells and blood vessels.”
Positive feelings and psychological comfort are important after a heart attack
> In the January 2021 issue of Circulation, the American Heart Association presented its scientific review titled “Mental health, well-being, and the connection between mind, heart, and body: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.”
She began presenting her medical statement by saying: “As doctors who provide health care, we are very good at treating disease, but often we are not good at treating a person. Our focus was on the physical condition specifically, rather than the patient as a whole. Less attention has been paid to mental health and how this can contribute to physical health and disease.
However, there is now a growing appreciation of how mental health can contribute, in a positive way, to improving cardiovascular health after cardiovascular disease, as well as to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is the American Heart Association scientific statement on the relationship between mental health and cardiovascular health and disease.”
She presented the results of scientific reviews on this matter, saying the following points:
There is good data showing clear associations between mental health and cardiovascular disease and risk.
There is growing evidence that mental health may be causally linked to the biological processes and behaviors that contribute to and cause cardiovascular disease.
An abundance of data indicates that therapeutic interventions to improve mental health can have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.
Health care providers can use simple screening procedures for patients with or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease to assess their mental health status.
It is recommended that mental health be considered in the assessment and management of patients with or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
After presenting the scientific evidence and the results of studies that reported the types of negative effects on heart health of negative mental health cases, such as: chronic stress, social stress, anger, aggression, anxiety, depression and pessimism, it presented, in turn, the effects of positive mental health components on heart health.
For example, on the “optimism” aspect, she said: “Optimism is characterized by a feeling of hope and confidence that things will go well in the future and an expectation of the best possible results. Multiple studies have found that optimism is associated with healthy behaviors such as increased physical activity, not smoking, a healthy diet, better sleep quality, and a higher score in cardiovascular health.
It is associated with healthy aging, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart failure, and a lower risk of death from all causes. In individuals with confirmed cardiovascular disease, optimism was linked to better cardiovascular outcomes and a lower risk of readmission to hospital.
She also said: “Rest is important after a heart attack, but it is also important that you participate in social and recreational events, and start making physical activity a part of your daily life. And your doctor will tell you what’s best for your specific situation.
“One of the best things you can do for yourself is to go into a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you improve your health and well-being and change your lifestyle habits through exercise training, education and counseling to reduce stress,” she added.
On returning to work, the association says: “Most heart attack patients return to work within two weeks to three months, depending on the severity of the heart attack. Your doctor will determine when you can return, and whether your current job is a good fit for someone who has had a heart attack.”
“Most people can continue with the same pattern of sexual activity within a few weeks after recovering from a heart attack,” she says. Talk to your doctor to determine what’s safe for you