Differential gene responses 3 days following infarction in the fetal and adolescent sheep heart

Mitchell C. Lock, Ross L. Tellam, Jack R.T. Darby, Jia Yin Soo, Doug A. Brooks, Christopher K. Macgowan, Joseph B. Selvanayagam, Enzo R. Porrello, Mike Seed, Maureen Keller-Wood, Janna L. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


There are critical molecular mechanisms that can be activated to induce myocardial repair, and in humans this is most efficient during fetal development. The timing of heart development in relation to birth and the size/electrophysiology of the heart are similar in humans and sheep, providing a model to investigate the repair capacity of the mammalian heart and how this can be applied to adult heart repair. Myocardial infarction was induced by ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery in fetal (105 days gestation when cardiomyocytes are proliferative) and adolescent sheep (6 mo of age when all cardiomyocytes have switched to an adult phenotype). An ovine gene microarray was used to compare gene expression in sham and infarcted (remote, border and infarct areas) cardiac tissue from fetal and adolescent hearts. The gene response to myocardial infarction was less pronounced in fetal compared with adolescent sheep hearts and there were unique gene responses at each age. There were also region-specific changes in gene expression between each age, in the infarct tissue, tissue bordering the infarct, and tissue remote from the infarction. In total, there were 880 genes that responded to MI uniquely in the adolescent samples compared with 170 genes in the fetal response, as well as 742 overlap genes that showed concordant direction of change responses to infarction at both ages. In response to myocardial infarction, there were specific changes in genes within pathways of mitochondrial oxidation, muscle contraction, and hematopoietic cell lineages, suggesting that the control of energy utilization and immune function are critical for effective heart repair. The more restricted gene response in the fetus may be an important factor in its enhanced capacity for cardiac repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-159
Number of pages17
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • cardiac
  • fetus
  • myocardial infarction
  • regeneration
  • sheep


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