A UCSF stem cell study conducted in mice suggests a novel strategy for treating damaged cardiac tissue in patients following a heart attack. The approach potentially could improve cardiac function, minimize scar size, lead to the development of new blood vessels and avoid the risk of tissue rejection.
In the investigation, reported online in the journal PLoS ONE, (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0030329) the researchers isolated and characterized a novel type of cardiac stem cell from the heart tissue of middle-aged mice following a heart attack.
Then, in one experiment, they placed the cells in the culture dish and showed they had the ability to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, or "beating heart cells," as well as endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells, all of which make up the heart.
In another, they made copies, or "clones," of the cells and engrafted them in the tissue of other mice of the same genetic background who also had experienced heart attacks. The cells induced angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth, or differentiated, or specialized, into endothelial and smooth muscle cells, improving cardiac function.
"These findings are very exciting," said first author Jianqin Ye, PhD, MD, senior scientist at UCSF's Translational Cardiac Stem Cell Program. First, "we showed that we can isolate these cells from the heart of middle-aged animals, even after a heart attack." Second, he said, "we determined that we can return these cells to the animals to induce repair."
Importantly, the stem cells were identified and isolated in all four chambers of the heart, potentially making it possible to isolate them from patients' hearts by doing right ventricular biopsies, said Ye. This procedure is "the safest way of obtaining cells from the heart of live patients, and is relatively easy to
|Contact: Leland Kim|
University of California - San Francisco