Loss of atrioventricular conduction system (AVCS) cells due to either inherited or acquired deficits leads to conduction diseases, which can deteriorate into fatal cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. In this issue of the JCI, Wang et al. constructed a mouse model of atrioventricular block (AVB) by inducing AVCS cell–specific injury using the Cx30.2 enhancer to drive expression of diphtheria toxin fragment A. AVCS cell ablation in adult mice led to irreversible AVB. jkjkIn contrast, AVCS cell injury in neonatal mice was followed by spontaneous recovery in a subset of mice, revealing a limited postnatal time window during which the regeneration of AVCS cells can occur as a result of cellular plasticity. This exciting study paves the way for future research into biological or cellular treatment approaches for cardiac conduction diseases by exploiting the regenerative potential of AVCS cells.
Satadru K. Lahiri, Mohit M. Hulsurkar, Xander H.T. Wehrens