A small-molecule cocktail promotes mammalian cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration

Cell Stem Cell. 2022 Apr 7;29(4):545-558.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2022.03.009.


Zebrafish and mammalian neonates possess robust cardiac regeneration via the induction of endogenous cardiomyocyte (CM) proliferation, but adult mammalian hearts have very limited regenerative potential. Developing small molecules for inducing adult mammalian heart regeneration has had limited success. We report a chemical cocktail of five small molecules (5SM) that promote adult CM proliferation and heart regeneration. A high-content chemical screen, along with an algorithm-aided prediction of small-molecule interactions, identified 5SM that efficiently induced CM cell cycle re-entry and cytokinesis. Intraperitoneal delivery of 5SM reversed the loss of heart function, induced CM proliferation, and decreased cardiac fibrosis after rat myocardial infarction. Mechanistically, 5SM potentially targets α1 adrenergic receptor, JAK1, DYRKs, PTEN, and MCT1 and is connected to lactate-LacRS2 signaling, leading to CM metabolic switching toward glycolysis/biosynthesis and CM de-differentiation before entering the cell-cycle. Our work sheds lights on the understanding CM regenerative mechanisms and opens therapeutic avenues for repairing the heart.

Keywords: cardiomyocyte cytokinesis; cardiomyocyte proliferation; heart regeneration; high-content screen; lactate signaling; rats; small-molecule compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Heart
  • Mammals
  • Myocardial Infarction* / drug therapy
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction
  • Zebrafish