By using single cell RNA Seq, an emerging technique that combines microfluidic nanoliter droplet reactors with single cell barcoding and next generation sequencing, the researchers were able to examine expression of every gene in over 4,000 cardiac immune cells and found the specialized IFNIC population of responsible cells.
A study led by Kevin King, a bioengineer and physician at the University of California San Diego, has found that the immune system plays a surprising role in the aftermath of heart attacks. The research could lead to new therapeutic strategies for heart disease.
The team, which also includes researchers from the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Massachusetts, presented the findings in the Nov. 6 issue of Nature Medicine. Ischemic heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world and it begins with a heart attack. During this process, heart cells die, prompting immune cells to enter the dead tissue, clear debris and orchestrate stabilization of the heart wall.