Blood supply therapy bid boosted by fresh insights into key cells

blood vessel
Blood vessel with an erythrocyte (red blood cell, E) within its lumen, endothelial cells forming its tunica intima (inner layer), and pericytes forming its tunica adventitia (outer layer) Credit: Robert M. Hunt/Wikipedia/CC BY 3.0

Therapies to improve recovery after a heart attack could be developed following fresh insights into how key cells are formed.

Scientists have developed a system that allows them to study cells that line the walls of blood vessels, called .

Researchers say the findings shed light on how the cells can be best grown in the lab for use as therapies. They could also help develop drugs to prompt patients' own endothelial cells to regenerate and grow .

Such treatments could potentially help people with and other conditions that affect the , such as —a disorder that can lead to the loss of lower limbs.

Endothelial cells are vital to the process of supplying blood to damaged tissue following a . The team at the University of Edinburgh studied embroyonic stem cells—early stage cells that are not yet developed—and turned them into endothelial cells in the lab.

They used advanced techniques to visualise the genes that are turned on or off in individual cells as they undergo the transition to become endothelial cells.

Understanding these genetic cues sheds new light on the signals that drive endothelial cell formation and maturation. The researchers say this is a step towards developing treatments that could prompt the growth of functioning new blood vessels in patients.

The research was led by the British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science at the University of Edinburgh and is published in the European Heart Journal. It was funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome, the European Research Council and the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Andrew Baker, Head of Centre for Cardiovascular Science at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This study used new technology to map how endothelial cells are formed. We can now harness this information to understand how to activate these processes in patients or use these cells as a cell therapy approach by directly injecting them into damaged tissue."


Explore further

Elusive stem cells could help repair damaged blood vessels

More information: Ian R McCracken et al, Transcriptional dynamics of pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cell differentiation revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing, European Heart Journal (2019). DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz351
Journal information: European Heart Journal

Citation: Blood supply therapy bid boosted by fresh insights into key cells (2019, June 27) retrieved 16 October 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-06-blood-therapy-boosted-fresh-insights.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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