BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo researchers have demonstrated for the first time that injecting adult bone marrow stem cells into skeletal muscle can repair cardiac tissue, reversing heart failure.
Using an animal model, the researchers showed that this non-invasive procedure increased myocytes, or heart cells, by two-fold and reduced cardiac tissue injury by 60 percent.
The therapy also improved function of the left ventricle, the primary pumping chamber of the heart, by 40 percent and reduced fibrosis, the hardening of the heart lining that impairs its ability to contract, by up to 50 percent.
"This work demonstrates a novel non-invasive mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapeutic regimen for heart failure based on an intramuscular delivery route," said Techung Lee, Ph.D., UB associate professor of biochemistry and senior author on the paper.
Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the bone marrow and can differentiate into a variety of cell types.
"Injecting MSCs or factors released by MSCs improved ventricular function, promoted myocardial regeneration, lessened apoptosis (cell death) and fibrotic remodeling, recruited bone marrow progenitor cells and induced myocardial expression of multiple growth factor genes," Lee said.
"These findings highlight the critical 'cross-talks' between the injected MSCs and host tissues, culminating in effective cardiac repair for the failing heart."
The paper reporting this development appears online in the Articles-in-Press section of the American Journal of Physiology -- Heart Circulation Physiology at http://ajpheart.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/00186.2009v1
The heart disease death rate has dropped significantly in the last three decades due to better treatments, resulting in large numbers of people living with heart failure. This advance has lead to another health hurdle: The only therapy available to reverse the decline in cardiac function is heart transplantation, and donor hea
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