Stem cell therapy for heart disease has demonstrated safety and efficacy in clinical trials, but a key for better clinical outcomes is to determine the optimal stem cell type best suited for cardiac regeneration, Steven B. Houser, from Temple University (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues report that cortical bone-derived stem cells (CBSCs) may be superior to cardiac stem cells, for the regeneration of heart tissue. The researchers collected CBSCs from mouse tibias. The particular mice used had been engineered with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which meant that the CBSCs carried a green marker to allow for their later identification. The cells were then expanded in petri dishes in the laboratory before being injected directly into the hearts of non-GFP mice that had suffered heart attacks. Some mice received cardiac stem cells instead of CBSCs. In the following weeks, as the team monitored the progress of the mice, they found that the youthfulness of the CBSCs had prevailed. The cells had triggered the growth of new blood vessels in the injured tissue, and six weeks after injection, they had differentiated, or matured, into heart muscle cells. While generally smaller than native heart cells, the new cells had the same functional capabilities, and overall they had improved survival and heart function. The study authors submit that: “CBSCs improve survival, cardiac function, and attenuate remodeling through the following 2 mechanisms: (1) secretion of proangiogenic factors that stimulate endogenous neovascularization, and (2) differentiation into functional adult myocytes and vascular cells. “
Duran JM, Makarewich CA, Sharp TE, Starosta T, Zhu F, Hoffman NE, Houser SR, et al. “Bone-derived stem cells repair the heart after myocardial infarction through transdifferentiation and paracrine signaling mechanisms.” Circ Res. 2013 Aug 16;113(5):539-52.
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