Study says some stem cells dangerous for heart patients but gene editing technique can make cardiac therapy safer, Tel Aviv University team discovers.
A new study at Tel Aviv University shows that stem cell therapy, one of the few treatments available to patients with severe and end-stage heart failure, can actually harm them unless it is done differently (…)
Doctors use tissue or adult stem cells to replace damaged tissue, which encourages regeneration of blood vessel cells and new heart muscle tissue. But cardiac stem cells from a diseased heart can lead to a toxic interaction via a molecular pathway between the heart and the immune system, the study found.
“We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury,” Leor said. “Furthermore, we found that these cells are affected by the inflammatory environment and develop inflammatory properties. The affected stem cells may even exacerbate damage to the already diseased heart muscle.” (…)
Researchers discovered a molecular pathway involved in the toxic interaction while studying stem cells in mice with heart disease. By deleting the gene that makes the pathway, the cells’ ability to regenerate healthy tissue can be restored, they found.
Researchers found that using patients’ own cardiac stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue may not only be ineffective, but that the stem cells may also develop inflammatory properties that cause further heart damage.
Study leader Prof. Jonathan Leor, of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Circulation (…)
Transplanted cardiac stem cells may cause inflammation
Prof. Leor and colleagues came to their findings by isolating stem cells derived from the cardiac tissue of mice that had left ventricular dysfunction caused by a heart attack.
The team then injected the stem cells back into the hearts of the mice and assessed how they affected heart remodeling and function, compared with a saline solution.
Instead of repairing the rodents’ damaged heart tissue, the researchers found that the transplanted stem cells developed inflammatory properties, which may increase heart damage (…)
“We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury,” explains Prof. Leor.
“Furthermore, we found that these cells are affected by the inflammatory environment and develop inflammatory properties. The affected stem cells may even exacerbate damage to the already diseased heart muscle.” (…)