Monday, 2 September 2013

Stem cells can restore cardiac beat synchrony

According to a new study published in The Journal of Physiology, stem cells used for treating injured heart tissue also help restore synchronous pumping.

The authors of the study suggest a novel strategy of 'biological resynchronisation' in which induced pluripotent stem cells repair heart muscle damage to reestablish correct cardiac motion.

A heart attack limits local oxygen, which in turn kills areas of cardiac tissue -- called 'infarcted' areas -- and also leave scarring. This damage leads to a lack of synchrony in the heart beat motion.

Current treatments use pacing devices, but these require healthy tissue for optimal outcome, meaning a third of patients do not respond well to this treatment. However, this new approach discovered by a team at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA overcomes this limitation as induced pluripotent stem cells can be used form functional cardiac tissue and reconstruct heart muscle.

"Heart chambers must beat in synchrony to ensure proper pumping performance. Damage to the heart can generate inconsistent wall motion, leading to life-threatening organ failure. The heart is vulnerable to injury due to a limited capacity for self-repair. Current therapies are unable to repair damaged cardiac tissue. This proof-of-principle study provides evidence that a stem cell-based regenerative intervention may prove effective in synchronising failing hearts, extending the reach of currently available therapies." said Professor Andre Terzic, who led the study, explaining the importance of this potential new treatment.
"Stem cells, with a capacity of generating new heart muscle, were engineered from ordinary tissue. These engineered stem cells were injected into damaged hearts of mice. The impact on cardiac resynchronisation was documented using high-resolution imaging." said Doctor Satsuki Yamada, first author of the study.
The observed benefits, in the absence of adverse effects, need to be validated with further  pre-clinical studies, before we see any clinical applications said the researchers.

Yamada S, Nelson T, Kane G, Martinez-Fernandez A, Crespo-Diaz RJ, Ikeda Y, Terzic C, & Terzic A (2013). iPS Cell Intervention Rescues Wall Motion Disparity Achieving Biological Cardiac Resynchronization Post-Infarction. The Journal of physiology PMID: 23568891

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