Posted on Sep 14, 2018, 2 a.m.
For the first time scientists have succeeded in generating beating cardiac muscle cells from special stem cells, which may provide a new approach for the treatment of heart attacks, as published in the journal Circulation Research.
More that 49,000 people die of myocardial infarction consequences annually according to Federal Statistical Office, despite mortality rates after heart attack decreasing over recent decades. During each heart attack some of the cardiac tissues die accompanied by more or less marked scarring. Substituting destroyed tissue with adequately functioning cardiac muscle using stem cells attempts have not been as successful as what was expected.
Scientists from the University of Wurzburg have discovered a novel approach to treatment of myocardial infarction focusing on a special type of stem cell that was discovered in vascular walls which have the ability to develop into beating cardiac muscle cells under culture conditions. Vascular wall resident stem cells also exist in walls of intracardiac blood vessels, these coronary vessels are activated to respond when a heart attack happens.
During infarction events these vascular wall resident stem cells are not able to develop into cardiac muscle cells as desired; according to the researchers these vascular wall resident stem cells become integrated into the scar tissue and lose ability to transform into cardiac muscle cells, and it may be possible to manipulate behavior of these stem cells in intracardiac vascular walls to make them become stimulated into regenerating destroyed cardiac muscle tissue.
Should a timely and therapeutically effective control of these newly discovered stem cells from intracardiac blood vessels become possible, it would represent a leap forward for treatment of cardiovascular disease, and a chance to reduce therapeutic cost of these diseases. Findings are limited to animal studies and in the lab, additional studies are required to deepen findings obtained before they can be used on humans.
Materials provided by University of Würzburg.
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Subba Rao Mekala, Philipp Wörsdörfer, Jochen Bauer, Olga Stoll, Nicole Wagner, Laurens Reeh, Kornelia Loew, Georg Eckner, Chee Keong Kwok, Erhard Wischmeyer, Mary Eleanor Dickinson, Harald Schulze, David Stegner, Ralf A. Benndorf, Frank Edenhofer, Verena Pfeiffer, Stefanie Kuerten, Stefan Frantz, Süleyman Ergün. Generation of Cardiomyocytes From Vascular Adventitia-Resident Stem Cells. Circulation Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.312526