16 October 2020

Resurrection of cardiomyocytes

The technology of restoring heart cells after a heart attack has been discovered

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

The new experimental treatment is based on the delivery of therapeutic molecules into the heart tissue to protect it from destruction. It turned out that in addition to maintaining viability, the cells remained functional even with hypoxia.

To find a way to restore heart cells after an attack, scientists focused on the properties of vascular tissue vesicles, which are able to provide direct protection of the heart muscle after hypoxic stress on the background of a heart attack.


Image: Michael Rosnach/Disease Biophysics Group – VM.

By studying in detail the set of proteins that carry vesicles, they determined that there are almost 2000 of them. "Many of these proteins are associated with the heart's response to stress, so vesicles can potentially help cells maintain homeostasis, cope with stress and reduce the degree of damage," the scientists explain in a press release Reviving cells after a heart attack on the website of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Article by Yadid et al. Endothelial extracellular vesicles contain protective proteins and rescue ischemia-reperfusion injury in a human heart-on-chip published in the journal Science Translational Medicine – VM.

They tested their assumptions on a heart-on-a-chip model that mimics the structure and function of a human heart. They simulated a myocardial infarction, and then injected vesicles into the tissue.

Damaged cardiomyocytes treated with vesicles looked healthier and more functional and even continued to contract without oxygen. Scientists did not expect to achieve such an effect.

"The results show that vesicles can protect cardiac tissue from damage in part by delivering proteins and signaling molecules supporting various metabolic processes to damaged cells," the authors concluded. For humans, the results point to new opportunities in effective rehabilitation after a heart attack.

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