A tool for isolating progenitor cells from human heart tissue could lead to heart repair

October 7, 2015, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
A tool for isolating progenitor cells from human heart tissue could lead to heart repair
The monoclonal antibody C19 recognizes cardiac progenitor cells (green) in human heart tissue. Credit: A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute

A*STAR researchers and colleagues have developed a method to isolate and expand human heart stem cells, also known as cardiac progenitor cells, which could have great potential for repairing injured heart tissue.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and debilitating injury in the world today. Heart attacks damage , or 'cardiomyocytes', often leading to irreversible functional damage. A potential treatment option for long-term recovery is to replace the damaged cells with new functional cardiomyocytes through stem cell therapy, which could limit or even reverse the damage.

Early trials on mice treated with stem cells of non-cardiac origin—bone and peripheral , for example—had limited success mainly due to a failure to graft on to the host tissue. However, much interest was sparked by the discovery that the adult heart contains a small population of tissue-specific stem cells. "This 'next generation' stem cell-based therapy using cardiac progenitor cells will allow us to move much closer to getting a robust and effective solution to heart repair" explains Andre Choo from the A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI).

Previous studies have shown that mouse cardiac progenitor cells isolated and expanded by targeting their surface marker—a protein called 'Stem cell antigen-1', or Sca-1 for short—can efficiently engraft into existing heart tissue and form cardiomyocytes. Cells with similar properties have been found in human heart tissue but the lack of a Sca-1 equivalent in has prevented clinical applications.

Choo, along with Leung Hau Wan (also from the BTI), and other colleagues were determined to find a way to isolate and expand these cells in humans. They found that a monoclonal antibody (C19) was able to recognize the protein GRP78, decorated with a unique sugar moiety on the surface of human cardiac progenitor cells. The antibody could then be used to isolate these cells from both foetal hearts and undergoing differentiation towards cardiomyocytes.

The team was able to expand and stimulate the isolated human cardiac progenitor cells to generate all three cardiac cell types: cardiomyocytes, and , making them an ideal source for cell-based cardiac repair. Compared with that are able to differentiate into many more cell types, "the restricted differentiation lineage of the cardiac progenitor cells will greatly improve the safety aspect of such stem cell therapeutics" says Choo.

Further characterization of human cardiac progenitor cells and their differentiation mechanisms will pave the way for more tools to manipulate them so that their full therapeutic potential may be realized.

Explore further: Research identifies promising tool for cardiac stem cell grafting

More information: "mAb C19 targets a novel surface marker for the isolation of human cardiac progenitor cells from human heart tissue and differentiated hESCs." Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 82, 228–237 (2015). dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2015.02.016

Related Stories

Research identifies promising tool for cardiac stem cell grafting

December 5, 2013
New research by University of Vermont Associate Professor of Medicine Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D., and colleagues has identified a new tool that could help facilitate future stem cell therapy for the more than 700,000 Americans ...

Researchers identify stem-like progenitor cell that exclusively forms heart muscle

June 25, 2015
Future therapies for failing hearts are likely to include stem-like cells and associated growth factors that regenerate heart muscle. Scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have ...

Researchers isolate human muscle stem cells

September 23, 2015
UC San Francisco researchers have successfully isolated human muscle stem cells and shown that the cells could robustly replicate and repair damaged muscles when grafted onto an injured site. The laboratory finding paves ...

Can 'off the shelf' stem cell therapy treat heart failure patients? UB researcher aims to find out

March 16, 2015
After a heart attack, cardiac stem cell therapy stimulates the growth of new heart cells, but exactly how that happens is unclear. The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2 million grant to a researcher at the University ...

Stem cell study in mice offers hope for treating heart attack patients

February 15, 2012
A UCSF stem cell study conducted in mice suggests a novel strategy for treating damaged cardiac tissue in patients following a heart attack. The approach potentially could improve cardiac function, minimize scar size, lead ...

Recommended for you

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

January 22, 2018
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the ...

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

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 ...

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.