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.

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Published in npj Regenerative Medicine , v. 6, article no. 74.

© 2021 The Author(s)

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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.

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The authors declare that all the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and are contained within Supplementary Information, which is available for download as the additional files listed at the end of this record.

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