AUG 08, 2019 11:40 AM PDT

Stem Cells Improve Post Infarction Repair

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Following a heart attack, tissues within the heart are often damaged. Once damaged, the heart is incapable of regeneration of these tissues. These dead areas within the heart can strain the surrounding muscle which now has to work harder to pump adequate amounts of blood throughout the body. This stress can lead to enlargement of the heart, which can be fatal.

To address this problem, biomedical engineers have attempted to aid the heart in healing using pluripotent stem cells. Using these, scientists can grow cardiac muscle cells outside of the body. The cells are then injected into the heart near the site of tissue damage. This method has shown moderate improvement in experimental and clinical trials but is not without challenge.

Though following this procedure the left ventricle is more capable of pumping blood, results vary based on the quality of cells used. Furthermore, cells that have been damaged by the procedure do not die off once injected. Instead, they remain within the heart and are a possible source of future dysfunction.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have recently discovered a way to improve the quality of cells used in the procedure. When their technique was used in mouse models engraftment rates of the injected cardiomyocytes doubled. Researchers working on the project say their approach can easily be adopted in clinical settings.

Injections of this type require millions of stem cells. To get these large numbers of cells researchers often accelerate their growth. This growth acceleration is responsible for the large amounts of damaged cells found in injection preparations. These DNA-damaged cells are not suitable for transplantation and must be removed before the procedure.

In attempts to clear these damaged cells, researchers found that by activating transcription factor p53 in stem cells they could induce apoptosis within only the damaged cells. The procedure left healthy cells unharmed after which dead cells could simply be washed from the culture.

When preparations that had been rinsed of damaged cells were then injected, the engraftment rate doubled jumping from 7% to 14%. 

The above video takes a look at the laboratory process of differentiating stem cells into cardiomyocytes. 

 

Sources: CirculationThermo Fisher Scientific

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
AUG 23, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 23, 2019
Is High Intensity Interval Training Appropriate for Heart Patients
High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a form of cardiovascular interval training that uses short bursts of near-maximal intensity exercise alternat...
AUG 23, 2019
Drug Discovery
AUG 23, 2019
Type 2 Diabetic Drug Reverses Heart Failure
In a study published in the Journal of American Cardiology, a drug used for the treatment of diabetes—empagliflozin—was shown to improve the he...
AUG 23, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 23, 2019
Despite Healthier Lifestyle Urban Cyclists Exposed To High Levels Of Air Pollution
Incorporating fitness into your daily commute is one of the healthiest things you can do for your heart. This can be done in several ways from walking to w...
AUG 23, 2019
Health & Medicine
AUG 23, 2019
Not Just Risk Factors: Researchers Prove Excess Weight & Body Fat Cause Heart Disease
For decades, scientists and doctors alike have known that excess weight and body fat are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. However, a new study has...
AUG 23, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 23, 2019
Hacking Fat Cells
The high-fat energy-dense diet we consume today is nothing like what humans ate for all of history before us. Luckily, we no longer have to hunt and kill o...
AUG 23, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 23, 2019
Preventing Sarcopenia In Older Adults
The loss of muscle mass associated with aging, called sarcopenia, begins at about age 30 and continues throughout an individual's lifespan. This muscle...
Loading Comments...