Blood cells, including inflammatory monocytes, are made in the bone marrow and ultimately derive from hematopoietic stem cells. Until now it was unknown which bone marrow cells expand in acute myocardial infarction. Recent work published in Cell Stem Cell identified a subpopulation of short-term stem cells as the most upstream activation point after MI. The surface marker CCR2 identifies, in mice and in humans, the cell subset that sit almost at the very top of the hematopoietic tree as particularly responsive to an injury of the heart. The myeloid translocation gene 16 regulates their emergence, and may provide a therapeutic target to dampen leukocyte production that could otherwise jeopardize resolution of inflammatory activity in cardiovascular organs.
The MGH Center for Systems Biology (CSB) was established as one of the five thematic interdisciplinary Centers at MGH. It is home to over 200 researchers in 12 PI groups. The mission of the Center is to analyze at a systems level how biological molecules, proteins and cells interact in both healthy and diseased states.
Through a multidisciplinary approach that combines clinical insight with powerful technologies, CSB faculty pursue systems-level research that is at once fundamental, and yet immediately linked to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. While these approaches are generalizable to many diseases, the Center has particular strengths in complex human conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and renal disease. This goal is enabled by particular faculty expertise in genomics, chemical biology, physiology, bioimaging, and nanotechnology.