Pig tissue scaffolding allows hearts to be rebuilt post-implant

November 13, 2012 by Kevin Hattori, American Technion Society

Prof. Marcelle Machluf
(Medical Xpress)—Using tissue from pigs, scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have created a "scaffold" that preserves the infrastructure of natural blood vessels and supports human stem cells. The result a rebuilt heart that could be used as a post-heart attack implant.

To create their scaffold, the team led by Prof. Marcelle Machluf, of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, used extracellular matrix proteins, the outer part of animal tissue that, among other functions, provides structural support to cells. They made sure their matrix was as free as possible from components that could provoke immunological rejection, while still retaining its inherent vasculature.

"We used pig heart tissue, as it is physiologically similar to the human heart," said Prof. Machluf. "Its is 98 percent identical to human heart tissue, so the scaffold (and other transplanted pig organs) is not rejected by the ."

Heart attacks are a leading cause of death and disability in the Western world. When they strike, the blood supply to the myocardium (the middle of the three layers forming the wall of the heart) is impaired and, as a result, a scar is formed in the affected area. Since it does not have the ability to pump blood, the significantly burdens the healthy parts of the heart.

Current clinical treatments for heart attacks employ drugs and/or surgery to improve after a heart attack, and to prevent any recurrence. But these treatments cannot change scar tissue into healthy myocardial tissue, so the only current options for end-stage are or pacemakers. Both options are costly and limited in terms of availability.

Use of scaffolds for replacing damaged tissue with healthy transplanted cells should have biomechanical properties that are compatible with those of the myocardium, support the cells and the rehabilitating tissue, provide the required biochemical signals, and break down as the natural extracellular matrix is secreted.

The findings were published in the October issue of Tissue Engineering.

The research was financed by Israel's Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and was conducted in cooperation with Singapore's research agency.

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.

Recommended for you

Female biology – two X chromosomes and ovaries – extends life and protects mice from aging

December 18, 2018
Around the world, women outlive men. This is true in sickness and in health, in war and in peace, even during severe epidemics and famine. In most animal species, females live longer than males.

Get a warrant: Researchers demand better DNA protections

December 18, 2018
New laws are required to control access to medical genetic data by law enforcement agencies, an analysis by University of Queensland researchers has found.

Wound care revolution: Put away your rulers and reach for your phone

December 18, 2018
Monitoring a wound is critical, especially in diabetic patients, whose lack of sensation due to nerve damage can lead to infection of a lesion and, ultimately, amputation. Clinicians and healthcare professionals at the McGill ...

Using light to stop itch

December 17, 2018
Itch is easily one of the most annoying sensations. For chronic skin diseases like eczema, it's a major symptom. Although it gives temporary relief, scratching only makes things worse because it can cause skin damage, additional ...

Law professor suggests a way to validate and integrate deep learning medical systems

December 13, 2018
University of Michigan professor W. Nicholson Price, who also has affiliations with Harvard Law School and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, suggests in a Focus piece published in Science Translational Medicine, ...

Exercise-induced hormone irisin triggers bone remodeling in mice

December 13, 2018
Exercise has been touted to build bone mass, but exactly how it actually accomplishes this is a matter of debate. Now, researchers show that an exercise-induced hormone activates cells that are critical for bone remodeling ...

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.