Supportive materials will help regenerate heart tissue (w/ Video)

Dec 08, 2009

Bioengineers from University of California, San Diego are developing new regenerative therapies for heart disease. The work could influence the way in which regenerative therapies for cardiovascular and other diseases are treated in the future.

New results from UC San Diego on using adult stem cells to regenerate in environments that mimic a human post-heart-attack heart were presented this week in San Diego at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The work is from the laboratory of Adam Engler from the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Every year in the United States, approximately 900,000 people die from . The prevalence of heart disease has prompted researchers to develop new regenerative therapies to treat the condition, including the injection of into the scarred heart muscle that results from a . This treatment, called cellular cardiomyoplasty, relies on injected stem cells receiving appropriate cues from their surrounding tissue to cause them to become .

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Bioengineers from University of California, San Diego are developing new regenerative therapies for heart disease. The work could influence the way in which regenerative therapies for cardiovascular and other diseases are treated in the future. New results from UC San Diego on using adult stem cells to regenerate heart tissue in environments that mimic a human post-heart-attack heart were presented this week in San Diego at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The work is from the laboratory of Adam Engler from the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Credit: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

However, when stem cells are injected into stiff, scarred, post-heart attack muscle (rather than healthy tissue), these stem cells do not readily become cardiac muscle. In fact, only marginal improvement in overall has been detected, and this improvement may not actually be from . Instead, the improvements may be from the fact that the treatment "pokes holes" into the scar tissue and injects soft cells, making it slightly softer and thus more functional. Even more striking, the injected stem cells do not form new cardiac muscle. Instead, the stem cells form small calcified lesions. The injected stem cells are directed by the stiff scar tissue to mature into bone-like cells rather than new heart cells.

Given these problems associated with direct stem cell injection, the UC San Diego bioengineers are proposing to use cells placed in a supportive material that changes stiffness with time by exhibiting time-dependent crosslinking.

"Our evidence suggests that tissue-specific stiffness arises from key developmental changes, which implies that cells should be cultured in the appropriate physical conditions that mimic embryonic tissue progression, from soft, pre-cardiac tissue at early embryonic age to a mature, less compliant tissue at the conclusion of development," said Jennifer Young, a Ph.D. candidate in bioengineering at UC San Diego and the first author on the peer-reviewed presentation at ASCB 2009.

By tuning this material to mimic in situ time-dependent stiffness changes, the UC San Diego bioengineers have found that cells placed in this material indicate improved cardiac differentiation.

"Results from this study may not only have a profound impact on cardiovascular engineering, but may influence the way in which many regenerative therapies are conducted. In this instance we have studied the developing tissue as a model, and from it generated a set of design criteria to mimic in our new material," said bioengineering professor Adam Engler from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Source: University of California - San Diego (news : web)

Explore further: Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New role found for a cardiac progenitor population

May 14, 2008

In a discovery that could one day lead to an understanding of how to regenerate damaged heart tissue, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have found that parent cells involved in embryonic development of ...

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle

Apr 23, 2008

Dutch researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute have succeeded in growing large numbers of stem cells from adult human hearts into new heart muscle cells. A breakthrough in stem cell research. ...

Adult pig stem cells repair heart damage

Nov 14, 2006

U.S. scientists have successfully grown large numbers of stem cells from adult pigs' heart tissue and used the cells to repair heart attack damage.

Recommended for you

New pain relief targets discovered

4 hours ago

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

5 hours ago

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other ...

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

8 hours ago

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Our brains are hardwired for language

A groundbreaking study published in PLOS ONE by Prof. Iris Berent of Northeastern University and researchers at Harvard Medical School shows the brains of individual speakers are sensitive to language univer ...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...