Mayo Clinic researchers have proven for the first time that cells produced by the bone marrow can form new heart-muscle cells in adults, providing an important boost to research that could enable the body to replace heart muscle damaged by heart attack. The findings are now available online and will be published tomorrow in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"Until recently, the heart has been seen as an organ that cannot be healed," says Noel Caplice, M.D., the Mayo Clinic cardiologist who led the study. "Heart-attack damage to the myocardium, or heart muscle, was considered irreversible. This study points the way to a process that could lead to heart repair."
The researchers studied four female patients with leukemia who had survived 35 to 600 days after receiving bone-marrow transplants from male donors. Heart tissue samples were examined at autopsy using special staining techniques, which showed that a small portion of the heart-muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, contained male genetic material and had therefore originated from the donor marrow. Of the more than 80,000 cell nuclei examined, about 1 in 425 (.23 percent) contained the y chromosome.
Lee Aase | EurekAlert!
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