'Youthful' stem cells from bone can regenerate heart tissue

Washington, Sept. 05 (ANI): Researchers have found that stem cells in cortical, or compact, bone do a better job when it comes to the regeneration of heart tissue than the heart's own stem cells.

The findings by senior investigator, Steven R. Houser, at Temple University School of Medicine's Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC), have considerable implications for stem cell therapy for the heart.

Stem cells are youthful by degrees, and cortical bone-derived stem cells (CBSCs) are considered some of the most pluripotent - like human newborns, naive and ready to become anything. But while CBSCs and similarly pluripotent stem cells retain the ability to develop into any cell type needed by the body and sometimes bring their youthful energy to the aid of mature cells - making them especially appealing for therapeutics - they also have the potential to wander off course, possibly landing themselves in unintended tissues.

To figure out how CBSCs might behave in the heart in the first place, Houser's team began by collecting the cells from mouse tibias. The particular mice used had been engineered with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which meant that the CBSCs carried a green marker to allow for their later identification. The cells were then expanded in petri dishes in the laboratory before being injected directly into the hearts of non-GFP mice that had suffered heart attacks. Some mice received cardiac stem cells instead of CBSCs.

The findings challenge the general assumption that cardiac stem cells, because they reside in the heart, are the cells most capable of repairing damaged heart tissue.

The study is published in the journal Circulation Research. (ANI)