Adult spiny mice (Acomys) exhibit endogenous cardiac recovery in response to myocardial infarction

Hsuan Peng, Kazuhiro Shindo, Renée R. Donahue, Erhe Gao, Brooke M. Ahern, Bryana M. Levitan, Himi Tripathi, David Powell, Ahmed Noor, Garrett A. Elmore, Jonathan Satin, Ashley W. Seifert, Ahmed Abdel-Latif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Complex tissue regeneration is extremely rare among adult mammals. An exception, however, is the superior tissue healing of multiple organs in spiny mice (Acomys). While Acomys species exhibit the remarkable ability to heal complex tissue with minimal scarring, little is known about their cardiac structure and response to cardiac injury. In this study, we first examined baseline Acomys cardiac anatomy and function in comparison with commonly used inbred and outbred laboratory Mus strains (C57BL6 and CFW). While our results demonstrated comparable cardiac anatomy and function between Acomys and Mus, Acomys exhibited a higher percentage of cardiomyocytes displaying distinct characteristics. In response to myocardial infarction, all animals experienced a comparable level of initial cardiac damage. However, Acomys demonstrated superior ischemic tolerance and cytoprotection in response to injury as evidenced by cardiac functional stabilization, higher survival rate, and smaller scar size 50 days after injury compared to the inbred and outbred mouse strains. This phenomenon correlated with enhanced endothelial cell proliferation, increased angiogenesis, and medium vessel maturation in the peri-infarct and infarct regions. Overall, these findings demonstrate augmented myocardial preservation in spiny mice post-MI and establish Acomys as a new adult mammalian model for cardiac research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Journalnpj Regenerative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Josh Sarli for his help with Acomys husbandry and Thomas Wilkop Ph.D at the microscopy core at the University of Kentucky for his assistance with imaging. We thank the Markey Cancer Center and the COBRE histology core for their assistance with the tissue specimen preparation. We thank Binoy Joseph for his assistance in imaging and the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center for use of their imaging equipment. We thank Beverly Meacham and the University of Kentucky MRISC center for the assistance with cardiac MRI studies. A.A.L. is supported by NIH Grant R01 HL124266. Work in A.W.S.’s lab is supported by NIH R01 AR070313. The content in this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Markey Cancer Center Core: This research was supported by the Biospecimen Procurement and Translational Pathology Shared Resource Facility of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30CA177558). COBRE Core: Research reported in this publication was supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P30 GM127211.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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