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Nat Protoc. 2014 Feb;9(2):305-11. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2014.021. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Surgical models for cardiac regeneration in neonatal mice.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia.
Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Department of Molecular Biology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.


Although amphibian and fish models of heart regeneration have existed for decades, a mammalian equivalent has long remained elusive. Our discovery of a brief postnatal window for heart regeneration in neonatal mice has led to the establishment of surgical models for cardiac regenerative studies in mammals for the first time. This protocol describes a 10-min surgical procedure to induce cardiac injury in 1-d-old neonatal mice. This allows for the analysis of cardiac regeneration after surgical amputation of the left ventricle (LV) (apical resection) and coronary artery occlusion (myocardial infarction (MI)). A comparative analysis of neonatal and adult responses to myocardial injury should enable identification of the key differences between regenerative and nonregenerative responses to cardiac injury. This protocol can also be adapted to the growing repertoire of genetic models available in the mouse, and it provides a valuable tool for unlocking the molecular mechanisms that guide mammalian heart regeneration during early postnatal life.

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