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In new mouse study, injured heart tissue heals vs. regenerates

January 9, 2020

Hospital sign

New research is helping to clarify scientists’ understanding of how post-heart-attack cardiac function sometimes improves after injections of cells. Hearts are healing, not actually regenerating tissue as many thought, the new research suggests.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital mouse study shows that “the beneficial effects of two types of cell therapy are caused not by the rejuvenating properties of stem cells, but by the body’s wound-healing response — which can also be triggered by injecting dead cells or a chemical into the heart,” writes the Washington Post.

‘Important new evidence’ arises from study of cells and heart tissue

According to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the study worked with two types of cells currently used in human cell-therapy trials—bone marrow mononuclear cells and cardiac progenitor cells. Researchers were surprised to discover that in addition to the two types of stem cells, injecting dead cells or even an inert chemical called zymosan also provided benefit to the heart by optimizing the healing process. Zymosan is a substance designed to induce an innate immune response.

“The innate immune response acutely altered cellular activity around the injured area of the heart so that it healed with a more optimized scar and improved contractile properties,” said principal investigator Jeffery Molkentin, PhD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “The implications of our study are very straightforward and present important new evidence about an unsettled debate in the field of cardiovascular medicine.”

Or, as he told the Post, “What we did and showed is there is no magic soup. You’re injecting cells, they’re dying and simulating an immune response.”

Hematopoietic stem and immune cells for research

Notwithstanding these findings, bone marrow mononuclear cells are valuable research resources and among the hematopoietic stem and immune cells available through the iSpecimen Marketplace. These products, prospectively collected from healthy U.S donors according to US CFR requirements, contain primary cells used in autoimmune and infectious disease research, drug discovery and preclinical development, research and development of stem cell and immunotherapies, diagnostic assays involving cell-based calibrators and controls, and numerous other life science research applications.

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Learn about the iSpecimen Marketplace where you can browse millions of richly annotated, de-identified human tissue and biofluid biospecimens, in addition to hematopoietic and immune cell products. You can join for free and creating a login is easy. Request a quote or custom collection today.


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