The study, published in Nature Biotechnology, also shows that there was an effect on driving the formation of a small number of new cardiac muscle cells.
"This is the beginning of using the heart as a factory to produce growth factors for specific families of cardiovascular stem cells, and suggests that it may be possible to generate new heart parts without delivering any new cells to the heart itself ", says Kenneth Chien, a Professor at the medical university Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Harvard University, US, who led the research team behind the new findings.
The study is based upon another recent discovery in the Chien lab, which was published in Cell Research. This study shows that VEGFA, a known growth factor for vascular endothelial cells in the adult heart, can also serve as a switch that converts heart stem cells away from becoming cardiac muscle and towards the formation of the coronary vessels in the fetal heart. To coax the heart to make the VEGFA, the investigators in the Nature Biotechnology study used new technology where synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) that encodes VEGFA is injected into the muscle cell. Then, heart muscle produces a short pulse of VEGFA. The mRNA is synthetically modified so that it escapes the normal defense system of the body that is known to reject and degrade the non-modified mRNA as a viral invader.
The study, performed in mice, shows that only a single administration of a short pulse of expression of VEGFA is required, if it can be delivered to the exact region where the heart progenitors reside. The therapeutic effect is long term, as shown by markedly improved survival following myocardial infarction with a single administration of the synthetic mRNA when given within 48 hours after the heart attack. The long-term effect appears to be based on changing the fate of the native heart stem cells from contributing to cardiac fibrotic scar tissue and towards cardiovascular tissue.
"This moves us very close to clinical studies to regenerate cardiovascular tissue with a single chemical agent without the need for injecting any additional cells into the heart." says Professor Chien.
At the same time, he points out that these are still early days and there remains much to be done. In particular, it will become of interest to engineer new device technology to deliver the synthetic mRNA via conventional catheter technology. It also will be critical to move these studies, which are based in mouse models, to other animals, which is currently in progress.
The platform technology is being developed for clinical use by the company Moderna Therapeutics, which was co-founded by Kenneth Chien. A recently announced collaboration with AstraZeneca will support moving the synthetic modified mRNA therapeutics for regenerative cardiology into the clinical setting. This work was also funded with grants from the US National Institutes of Health and The Croucher Foundation, amongst others.
Publication: 'Modified mRNA directs the fate of heart progenitor cells and induces vascular regeneration after myocardial infarction', Lior Zangi, Kathy O Lui, Alexander von Gise, Qing Ma, Wataru Ebina, Leon M Ptaszek, Daniela Später, Huansheng Xu, Mohammadsharif Tabebordbar, Rostic Gorbatov, Brena Sena, Matthias Nahrendorf, David M Briscoe, Ronald A Li, Amy J Wagers, Derrick J Rossi, William T Pu & Kenneth R Chien, Nature Biotechnology, online 8 September 2013, DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2682.
Journal website: http://www.nature.com/nbt
To download images and contact the Press Office: ki.se/pressroom
Karolinska Institutet -- a medical university: ki.se/english
Katarina Sternudd | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.ki.se
More articles from Studies and Analyses:
Group of anti-diabetic drugs can significantly lower cancer risk in women with type 2 diabetes
06.12.2013 | Cleveland Clinic
Could a Vaccine Help Ward off MS?
06.12.2013 | American Academy of Neurology
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The young ...
06.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News