We review some of the important discoveries and advances made in basic and translational cardiac research in 2020. For example, in the field of myocardial infarction (MI), new aspects of autophagy and the importance of eosinophils were described. Novel approaches, such as a glycocalyx mimetic, were used to improve cardiac recovery following MI. The strategy of 3D bio-printing was shown to allow the fabrication of a chambered cardiac organoid. The benefit of combining tissue engineering with paracrine therapy to heal injured myocardium is discussed. We highlight the importance of cell-to-cell communication, in particular, the relevance of extracellular vesicles, such as exosomes, which transport proteins, lipids, non-coding RNAs, and mRNAs and actively contribute to angiogenesis and myocardial regeneration. In this rapidly growing field, new strategies were developed to stimulate the release of reparative exosomes in ischaemic myocardium. Single-cell sequencing technology is causing a revolution in the study of transcriptional expression at cellular resolution, revealing unanticipated heterogeneity within cardiomyocytes, pericytes and fibroblasts, and revealing a unique subpopulation of cardiac fibroblasts. Several studies demonstrated that exosome- and non-coding RNA-mediated approaches can enhance human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) viability and differentiation into mature cardiomyocytes. Important details of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter and its relevance were elucidated. Novel aspects of cancer therapeutic-induced cardiotoxicity were described, such as the novel circular RNA circITCH, which may lead to novel treatments. Finally, we provide some insights into the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the heart.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute [to S.M.D.] and the British Heart Foundation [PG/18/44/33790 to S.M.D.; RG/19/10/ 34506 to P.C.E.]. T.P. is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health-Institute of Health Carlos III [PI19/01687] and G.V. by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation [PGC2018-094025-B-I00] and FEDER 'Una Manera de Hacer Europa'. S.B. is funded by University of Genova, Genova, Italy, 'Curiosity Driven' grant. D.J.D. acknowledges support from the Netherlands CardioVascular Research Initiative financially supported by the Dutch Heart Foundation (CVON2014-RECONNECT and CVON2017-ARENA PRIME). T.J.G. is funded by European Research Council (CoG-2016- InflammaTENSION).
© 2021 Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.