Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Successes with heart tissue patches from the lab

03.11.2016

Myocardial patches generated in the lab can be grafted on to damaged guinea pig hearts to improve heart function. That is what a team of researchers from Germany, Norway, Scotland and the USA found out and reported now in Science Translational Medicine.

Zebra fish and a few amphibian species can do it, mammals and humans cannot: that is replace dead myocardial cells with new ones. In humans a scar is left in the myocardium following an infarction and heart function usually permanently deteriorates.


Engineered heart tissue grown in the lab is sewn on to the heart like a patch.

Photo: DZHK/Weinberger

That is why cardiologists dream of replacing scar tissue with artificial muscle. A team of researchers headed by Professor Thomas Eschenhagen from the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf has been able to achieve considerable success in this highly competitive area of research.

The researchers succeeded in transplanting engineered (´synthetic´) human heart tissue generated in the lab on to injured guinea pigs’ hearts. They used guinea pigs because of all small animals the electrical activity of their hearts has most similarities to human hearts. The new transplanted tissue was incorporated into the animals’ heart and the pump function improved by up to 30 percent.

Reprogrammed somatic cells turn into heart cells

One of the lead authors of the study, Dr Florian Weinberger (other lead authors: Dr Kaja Breckwoldt, Dr Simon Pecha), explains what distinguishes the group’s work from others: “We use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), these are reprogrammed human somatic cells from which all kinds of tissue can be grown. In contrast, groups outside Europe often work with tissue derived from embryonic stem cells. However, in Europe these are not allowed to be used for transplantation in humans”.

Another key difference is that the scientists used three-dimensional engineered heart tissue grown in the lab and subsequently sewn on to the heart like a patch, whereas other groups inject cell suspensions directly into the heart muscle. Describing the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches Weinberger says “The disadvantage of the injection technique is that most of the injected cells are washed out of the heart or do not survive the injection. This is inefficient and can also be dangerous if some cells have not yet fully developed into myocardial cells and are therefore still pluripotent. These cells could settle in other parts of the body and form tumours”.

On the other hand, cell injection can be easily carried out via catheter. The tissue patches used in this study have the advantage that significantly fewer of the stem cell-derived heart cells are required and much fewer cells are washed away.

The scientists also performed control tests with other patches made from only matrix or cells other than heart cells, namely endothelial cells. They did this to exclude the possibility that stabilisation of the myocardium and improved cardiac function could be done with any type of tissue. However, heart function did not improve with non-cardiac patches. To rule out false positive results by subjective assessments, the researchers carried out all their tests in a blinded fashion, i.e. that they did not know themselves which animal had received the synthetic cardiac tissue and which had received other tissue.

Original and replacement heart tissue beat (mostly) in time

The twitching cardiac patches made in the lab have their own rhythm and they only achieve their full capacity when they beat in synchrony with the recipient heart. This so-called ‘electric coupling’ is therefore important for the suitability of the replacement tissue. “To achieve this, we sewed the tissue into healthy tissue above and below the scar”. The researchers could observe this coupling of synthetic and native tissue in some of the animals. They do not yet know whether coupling failed or also happened in the other animals and was simply missed by their method of measurement.

The next steps for the use in human beings

There are still a few necessary steps to enable the use of this method for patients. For safety reasons, the researchers must closely examine whether and how many cells are washed out. Furthermore, they want to perform dosage studies to assess whether the number of cells can be reduced for the same effect. The timing of the therapy could also play a role. “We do not yet know whether there are differences in terms of when the synthetic cardiac tissue is added, should it be shortly after damage or when the damage to the heart is already chronic”, says Weinberger. And finally, the experiments must be repeated with larger animals, such as pigs, whose cardiovascular system is much more similar to humans. This work aims at translating the finding in animals to first-in-human therapy and will be supported by a research grant from the DZHK.

Cardiac repair in guinea pigs with human engineered heart tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells. Florian Weinberger et. al., Sci. Transl. Med. 8, 363ra148 (2016)
http://stm.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf8781.

Contact:
Dr. med. Florian Weinberger, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Experimentelle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, f.weinberger@uke.de

Christine Vollgraf, press officer, Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung (DZHK), Tel.: +49 30 3465 529 02, christine.vollgraf@dzhk.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://dzhk.de/

Christine Vollgraf | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: DZHK animals guinea pigs heart cells heart function pigs pluripotent stem cells stem cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress
22.02.2019 | Lobachevsky University

nachricht How the intestinal fungus Candida albicans shapes our immune system
22.02.2019 | Exzellenzcluster Präzisionsmedizin für chronische Entzündungserkrankungen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>