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Fetal stem cells from placenta may help maternal heart recover from injury
Date:11/14/2011

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have discovered the therapeutic benefit of fetal stem cells in helping the maternal heart recover after heart attack or other injury. The research, which marks a significant advancement in cardiac regenerative medicine, was presented today at the American Heart Association's (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando, Florida, and is also published in the current issue of Circulation Research, a journal of the AHA.

In the first study of its kind, the Mount Sinai researchers found that fetal stem cells from the placenta migrate to the heart of the mother and home to the site where an injury, such as a heart attack, occurred. The stem cells then reprogram themselves as beating heart stem cells to aid in its repair. The scientists also mimicked this reprogramming in vitro, showing that the fetal cells became spontaneously beating heart cells in cell culture, which has broad-reaching implications in treating heart disease.

Previous studies have documented a phenomenon in which half of women with a type of heart failure called peripartum cardiomyopathy saw their condition spontaneously recover in the months following pregnancy. Based on this evidence, the Mount Sinai team wanted to determine whether fetal stem cells played a role in maternal recovery.

They evaluated the hearts of pregnant female mice that underwent mid-gestation heart injury and survived. Using green fluorescent protein in the fetuses to tag the fetal stem cells derived from the placenta, they found that the green fluorescent stem cells homed to the injured hearts of their mothers, grafted onto the damaged tissue, and differentiated into smooth muscle cells, blood vessel cells, or another type of heart cell called cardiomyocytes.

"Our research shows that fetal stem cells play an important role in inducing maternal cardiac repair," said Hina Chaudhry, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at Mount Sina
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Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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