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German Scientists Create Beating Heart Cells From Stem Cells.

WURZBURG, Germany, September 12, 2018 -- Myocardial infarction or heart attack is still one of the main causes of death. According to Germany's Statistical Office, more than 49,000 people died from it. And yet the mortality after heart attack, compared to the early 1990s, has more than halved until 2015 because of better prevention, therapy, and rehabilitation.

However, during a heart attack some of the cardiac muscle tissue dies leaving scars.

Attempts to substitute the destroyed tissue with adequately functioning cardiac muscle using stem cells have not been as successful as expected.

Recent results of research scientists at the University of Wurzburg (JMU), however, show a novel approach for the treatment of myocardial infarction.

A team led by Suleyman Ergun focused on a special type of stem cells discovered in vascular walls.

The scientists hope to show for the first time the presence of special stem cells in human vascular walls that have the ability to develop into beating cardiac muscle cells under culture conditions.

They could also show that these "vascular wall-resident stem cells" exist also in the walls of intracardiac blood vessels, the so-called "coronary vessels," and are actually activated to respond when a heart attack happens.

The problem so far was that in the event of an infarction these stem cells had no chance to develop into cardiac muscle cells as desired.

The studies have shown that these cells are integrated into the scar tissue and thus lose their ability to transform into cardiac muscle cells.

Nevertheless, the results give cause for hope: the results provide a new approach that may make it possible to therapeutically manipulate the behavior of the stem cells in the intracardiac vascular walls so that they are stimulated into regenerating the destroyed cardiac muscle tissue.

Therapists are convinced that if a timely and therapeutically effective control of the newly discovered stem cells from the intracardiac blood vessels were actually possible, it would mean a huge step forward in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

At the same time, it offers a chance to significantly reduce the therapeutic cost of these diseases. However, the scientists' findings are still limited to studies on experimental animals and in the lab.

Further studies are therefore required to deepen the findings obtained before they can be used on humans.

Citation: Subba Rao Mekala et al., Generation of Cardiomyocytes From Vascular Adventitia-Resident Stem Cells. Circulation Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.312526


Contact: Suleyman Ergun,

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Title Annotation:Basic Research
Publication:Stem Cell Research News
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 24, 2018
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