Inspired by Covid-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, researchers have developed a similar method for delivering genetic material to the body to repair damaged heart muscle after a heart attack.
The Covid mRNA vaccines use lipid nanoparticles (tiny fat droplets) to deliver mRNA to the body's cells. This mRNA instructs the cells to manufacture a dummy spike protein on their surface to mimic the protein on the virus causing Covid.
The body then mounts an immune response by creating antibodies which can be used if the individual becomes infected with the virus.
However, instead of aiming for an immune response, researchers from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands aimed to instruct the heart's cells to repair themselves after a heart attack.
This preliminary study was conducted to determine whether mRNA could be successfully delivered to the heart muscle in lipid nanoparticles.
In the study, the researchers injected different formulations into the left ventricular wall of mouse hearts during open chest surgery under general anaesthesia. Twenty-four hours after administration, the mice were sacrificed and the location of mRNA translation was examined.