Navigation Links
Implanting embryonic cardiac cells prevents arrhythmias

When researchers at Cornell, the University of Bonn and the University of Pittsburgh transplanted living embryonic heart cells into cardiac tissue of mice that had suffered heart attacks, the mice became resistant to cardiac arrhythmias, thereby avoiding one of the most dangerous and fatal consequences of heart attacks.

The discovery, reported in this week's issue of Nature, has profound implications for using cell-transplant therapies to restore damaged heart tissue.

The researchers, including Michael Kotlikoff, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the paper's senior authors, discovered that a protein called connexin43, expressed by the transplanted embryonic heart cells, improved electrical connections to other heart cells. The researchers showed that the improved connections helped activate the transplanted cells deep within the damaged section of the heart tissue. The technique reversed the risk of developing ventricular arrhythmias after a heart attack, the number one cause of sudden death in the Western world.

In the past, scientists have transplanted a variety of cell types into failing hearts with modest improvement of function, although transplanting skeletal muscle cells made things worse and led to more arrhythmias. Surprisingly, when co-author Bernd Fleischmann at the University of Bonn and colleagues transplanted embryonic cardiac cells, the hearts' electrical stability and function returned to normal.

Scientists recognize the untapped potential of using cell-based therapies to counter many debilitating diseases, but they have not had tools to assess the function of the cells once transferred. In Kotlikoff's laboratory, the researchers determined that the transplanted embryonic cells were making electrical connections with normal heart cells. Using genetically modified heart cells that express a fluorescent sensor, they established that transplanted heart cells were activated during normal heart contractions.

"For the first time we were able to see how cells used in therapy are working with other cells in a complex organ within a living animal, establishing the mechanism of the therapeutic effect," Kotlikoff said.

Professor Guy Salama at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was also able to map voltage signals across the surface of the hearts, establishing that the implanted cells improve conduction of electrical signals within the damaged heart tissue.

While doctors could never use cells from a human embryonic heart for transplantation, researchers at the University of Bonn engineered skeletal muscle to express connexin43 and achieved the same restorative results as they did with the embryonic heart cells.

"These results have important implications for therapy, although they must be verified in the context of naturally occurring heart damage," Kotlikoff said. "One can envision using a patient's own cells by deriving heart cells from stem cells to improve heart function and decrease arrhythmia risk."


Contact: Sabina Lee
Cornell University Communications  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists identify embryonic stem cells by appearance alone
2. Embryonic stem cell strategy advanced with UCSF finding
3. Human embryonic stem cells remain embryonic because of epigenetic factors
4. From GM farm animals to embryonic stem cell research
5. Researchers discover important tool in understanding differentiation in human embryonic stem cells
6. Simple recipe turns human skin cells into embryonic stem cell-like cells
7. Oosight microscope enables embryonic stem cell breakthrough
8. Human embryonic stem cell -- derived bone tissue closes massive skull injury
9. University of Pittsburgh cardiologists identify new cardiac arrest gene
10. Pennsylvania Hospital surgeon receives grant to develop molecular cardiac surgery
11. ESF EURYI award winner aims to stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Implanting embryonic cardiac cells prevents arrhythmias
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation of ... company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), ... portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment ... represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing the ... cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young ... cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of ... More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: