CPCs, which are typically only found in fetal development, can become all of the different cell types of the heart and can integrate into heart muscle tissue after injection.
An estimated 17 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year. Although mortality rates are declining, heart attacks are still among the most frequent causes of death in the developed world. Often, the cause of a heart attack is the closure of a coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart, which kills heart muscle cells. Cardiomyocytes, which are the heart muscle cells responsible for the contraction of the heart, are not able to regenerate after a heart attack. The massive loss of cells and tissue, and the highly restricted regeneration capacity of the adult heart, lead to an impaired blood supply throughout the body that drastically affects a patient's quality of life. To restore the heart's function after a major heart attack, clinicians require functionally mature cardiomyocytes that perform like the native cells in the adult heart to replace the cells that were killed.
The production of such functional cardiomyocytes from well-defined cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPCs) is the focus of the research team led by Prof. Dr. Katja Schenke-Layland from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart and her colleagues, Dr. Ali Nsair of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Prof. Dr. Robb MacLellan of the University of Washington in Seattle, who have now succeeded in identifying such cells in a mouse model. The work, which could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease, was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE (PLoS ONE7 (10):e45603, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045603).
Development of heart muscle cells from precursor cells
Myocardial cells as well as endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells develop from CPCs during the embryonic development of humans a
|Contact: Katja Schenke-Layland |