Capable of developing into all types of cardiac cells, a new cell type in adult rat heart tissue has been found by researchers at the University of Minnesota.
This gives hope for the possibility of treatments such as the growth of new blood vessels for use in bypass surgery or to repair damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. The cells could be expanded in a lab after being harvested and then used in therapy.
Appearing in the February print edition, The journal Nature Clinical Trials Cardiovascular Medicine has published the research.
The researchers expanded tissue taken from adult rat hearts in a dish after adding certain growth factors. These cells were able to give rise to all types of cardiac cells, such as the cells that make up the left and right ventricles and blood vessels. Impressively, just as more mature heart muscle cells will do, the newly grown cells even beat in a laboratory dish.
Professor of physiology and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair, Doris, said that they injected the cells into rats with injured hearts and documented that the cells repaired the damaged tissue.