Fanning the flames to regenerate the heart.
Damage to the adult mammalian heart is irreversible, and lost cells are not replaced through regeneration. In neonatal mice, prior to P7, heart tissue can be regenerated after injury; however, the factors that facilitate cardiac regeneration in the neonatal heart are not known. In this issue of the JCI, Aurora and colleagues evaluated the immune response following myocardial infarction in P1 mice compared with that in P14 mice, which have lost their regenerative capacity, and identified a population of macrophages as mediators of cardiac repair. Further understanding of the immune modulators that promote the regenerative properties of this macrophage subset could potentially be exploited to recapitulate regenerative function in the adult heart.