In a recent study published from Dr. Sadek’s lab in Nature, exposure to severe systemic hypoxia (gradual decrease in inspired oxygen concentration by 1% and maintenance at 7% for 2 weeks – equivalent to the summit of Mt. Everest!) was shown to inhibit oxidative metabolism, decrease ROS production and oxidative DNA damage, and reactivation of cardiomyocyte mitosis in mice. The authors also observed that exposure to hypoxemia 1 week after induction of MI induced a regenerative response with decreased myocardial fibrosis and improvement of left ventricular systolic function. These findings highlight that endogenous regenerative properties of adult mammalian hearts can be reactivated by exposure to gradual systemic hypoxemia and open the exciting avenue for the therapeutic role of hypoxia in regenerative medicine!
– Anurag Mehta