Heart revival.When your heart works like it's supposed to, it keeps you alive and well. But when the heart fails, people can get very sick or even die.
Now, scientists have found a way to turn dead rat hearts into living ones. It's a medical first, and the technique may eventually allow doctors to make new hearts from patients' own cells. This should largely avoid the risk that the patient's body will reject the new heart, which often happens today.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota (body, education) University of Minnesota - The home of Gopher.
Address: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. in Minneapolis started with hearts from rats that had been dead for less than 18 hours. Led by Doris A. Taylor, the scientists put the hearts in glass beakers and used a liquid detergent Noun 1. liquid detergent - a detergent in liquid form
detergent - a cleansing agent that differs from soap but can also emulsify oils and hold dirt in suspension to wash away the dead cells.
Left behind was a heart-shaped mass of proteins that normally surround heart cells and hold them together. The mass was translucent translucent
slightly penetrable by light rays. , which means it lets light through, and it had the consistency of Jell-O.
Next, Taylor and her colleagues took cells from hearts of newborn rats. They injected these living cells into the hollowed-out hearts.
Eight days later, the hearts were pumping weakly weak·ly
adj. weak·li·er, weak·li·est
Delicate in constitution; frail or sickly.
1. With little physical strength or force.
2. With little strength of character. . And the injected cells in each heart beat synchronously--that is, all at the same time.
"The fact that we can get these cells to beat synchronously is incredibly encouraging," Taylor says. It will be years before doctors might consider using this method to repair hearts in people, the scientists warn. In the study, the rebuilt hearts could pump blood only about 2 percent as fast as a normal adult rat heart can.
Eventually, scientists would like to be able to use primitive stem cells stem cells, unspecialized human or animal cells that can produce mature specialized body cells and at the same time replicate themselves. Embryonic stem cells are derived from a blastocyst (the blastula typical of placental mammals; see embryo), which is very young (see "From Stem Cell stem cell
In living organisms, an undifferentiated cell that can produce other cells that eventually make up specialized tissues and organs. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. to Any Cell") from a patient's blood or heart tissue to repair his or her own organs.