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Transplanted adult stem cells provide lasting help to injured hearts
Date:5/7/2010

HOUSTON Human adult stem cells injected around the damage caused by a heart attack survived in the heart and improved its pumping efficiency for a year in a mouse model, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report online ahead of publication in Circulation Research.

The study, with researchers at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, used innovative imaging techniques developed by researchers at MD Anderson to track the stem cells' location and performance over time.

Injection of a patient's own adult stem cells into the heart has shown some efficacy in assisting recovery after a heart attack in early human clinical trials, said study senior author Edward T. H. Yeh, M.D., professor and chair of MD Anderson's Department of Cardiology.

"But nobody knows how they work, or how long the stem cells last and function in the heart," Yeh said. "This study shows how one type of adult stem cell works."

The team's research focused on adult stem cells those that can differentiate into a limited variety of tissues that circulate in the blood and are distinguished by the presence of the CD34 protein on the cell surface. These CD34-positive cells usually differentiate into blood vessel cells, also known as endothelial cells.

Earlier research by Yeh and colleagues showed CD34+ cells are capable of becoming heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, blood vessel cells and smooth muscle cells.

A series of experiments showed:

  • The CD34+ cells survived in the left ventricle of the heart for 12 months or longer.

  • Left ventricular ejection fraction a measure of how much blood is pumped from the heart to other organs at each contraction improved in treated mice compared with controls for 52 weeks. LVEF went from 50 percent at baseline to 37 percent after heart attack and treatment, compared with 51 percent and 28 percent in untreated mice.

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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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