The immune cells known as macrophages have a long to-do list in our bodies. They defend us from bacteria, coax wounds to heal, and perform other vital tasks. A surprising new study suggests they are also essential for the heart to beat normally. That could make macrophages prime targets for treating conditions like arrhythmias, in which the heart beats erratically. A heartbeat begins when the organ’s pacemaker fires off an electrical impulse, telling the heart to contract. Macrophages, through testing on mice, have been found to make the transmission of this signal more reliable, keeping the heartbeat more regular than in the mice who lacked or had faulty macrophages.
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