Aging heart cells rejuvenated by modified stem cells

July 23, 2012, American Heart Association

Damaged and aged heart tissue of older heart failure patients was rejuvenated by stem cells modified by scientists, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2012 Scientific Sessions. The study is simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The research could one day lead to new treatments for , researchers said.

"Since are normally elderly, their cardiac stem cells aren't very healthy," said Sadia Mohsin, Ph.D., one of the study authors and a post-doctoral research scholar at San Diego State University's Heart Institute in San Diego, Cal. "We modified these biopsied stem cells and made them healthier. It is like turning back the clock so these cells can thrive again."

Modified human stem cells helped the signaling and structure of the , which were biopsied from elderly patients. Researchers modified the stem cells in the laboratory with PIM-1, a protein that promotes cell survival and growth.

Cells were rejuvenated when the modified stem cells enhanced activity of an enzyme called telomerase, which elongates telomere length. Telomeres are "caps" on the ends of chromosomes that facilitate . Aging and disease results when telomeres break off.

"There is no doubt that stem cells can be used to counter the aging process of cardiac cells caused by telomere degradation," Mohsin said. The technique increased telomere length and activity, as well as increasing cardiac stem cell proliferation, all vital steps in combating heart failure.

While human cells were used, the research was limited to the laboratory. Researchers have tested the technique in mice and pigs and found that telomere lengthening leads to new heart tissue growth in just four weeks.

"Modifying aged human from elderly patients adds to the cell's ability to regenerate damaged heart muscle, making stem cell engineering a viable option," Mohsin said. "This is an especially exciting finding for heart failure patients. Right now we can only offer medication, heart transplantation or stem cell therapies with modest regenerative potential, but PIM-1 modification offers a significant advance for clinical treatment."

Explore further: Genetically engineered cardiac stem cells repaired damaged mouse heart

Related Stories

Genetically engineered cardiac stem cells repaired damaged mouse heart

July 19, 2011
Genetically engineered human cardiac stem cells helped repair damaged heart tissue and improved function after a heart attack, in a new animal study.

Helping the heart help itself: Research points to new use for stem cells

April 8, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- Human trials of stem cell therapy for post-heart attack patients have raised as many questions as they have answered -- because while the patients have tended to show some improvement in heart function, the ...

Hormone reduces risk of heart failure from chemotherapy

August 4, 2011
Recent studies have shown that the heart contains cardiac stem cells that can contribute to regeneration and healing during disease and aging. However, little is known about the molecules and pathways that regulate these ...

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.