Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heart of silk: Scientists use silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue

Date:
January 28, 2012
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Damaged human heart muscle cannot be regenerated. Scar tissue grows in place of the damaged muscle cells. Scientists are seeking to restore complete cardiac function with the help of artificial cardiac tissue. They have succeeded in loading cardiac muscle cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold, created using the silk produced by a tropical silkworm.

Disks cut from the cocoon of the tasar silkworm grub provide a basic scaffold for heart muscle cells. The disks are around the same size as cent coins.
Credit: MPI for Heart and Lung Research

Max Planck scientists have used silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue.

Damaged human heart muscle cannot be regenerated. Scar tissue grows in place of the damaged muscle cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim are seeking to restore complete cardiac function with the help of artificial cardiac tissue. They have succeeded in loading cardiac muscle cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold, created using the silk produced by a tropical silkworm.

Of all the body’s organs, the human heart is probably the one most primed for performance and efficiency. Decade after decade, it continues to pump blood around our bodies. However, this performance optimisation comes at a high price: over the course of evolution, almost all of the body’s own regeneration mechanisms in the heart have become deactivated. As a result, a heart attack is a very serious event for patients; dead cardiac cells are irretrievably lost. The consequence of this is a permanent deterioration in the heart’s pumping power and in the patient’s quality of life.

In their attempt to develop a treatment for the repair of cardiac tissue, scientists are pursuing the aim of growing replacement tissue in the laboratory, which could then be used to produce replacement patches for the repair of damaged cardiac muscle. The reconstruction of a three-dimensional structure poses a challenge here. Experiments have already been carried out with many different materials that could provide a scaffold substance for the loading of cardiac muscle cells.

“Whether natural or artificial in origin, all of the tested fibres had serious disadvantages,” says Felix Engel, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim. “They were either too brittle, were attacked by the immune system or did not enable the heart muscle cells to adhere correctly to the fibres.” However, the scientists have now found a possible solution in Kharagpur, India.

At the university there, coin-sized disks are being produced from the cocoon of the tasar silkworm (Antheraea mylitta). According to Chinmoy Patra, an Indian scientist who now works in Engel’s laboratory, the fibre produced by the tasar silkworm displays several advantages over the other substances tested. “The surface has protein structures that facilitate the adhesion of heart muscle cells. It’s also coarser than other silk fibres.” This is the reason why the muscle cells grow well on it and can form a three-dimensional tissue structure. “The communication between the cells was intact and they beat synchronously over a period of 20 days, just like real heart muscle,” says Engel.

Despite these promising results, clinical application of the fibre is not currently on the agenda. “Unlike in our study, which we carried out using rat cells, the problem of obtaining sufficient human cardiac cells as starting material has not yet been solved,” says Engel. It is thought that the patient’s own stem cells could be used as starting material to avoid triggering an immune reaction. However, exactly how the conversion of the stem cells into cardiac muscle cells works remains a mystery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chinmoy Patra, Sarmistha Talukdar, Tatyana Novoyatleva, Siva R. Velagala, Christian Mühlfeld, Banani Kundu, Subhas C. Kundu, Felix B. Engel. Silk protein fibroin from Antheraea mylitta for cardiac tissue engineering. Biomaterials, 2012; 33 (9): 2673 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.12.036

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Heart of silk: Scientists use silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135943.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2012, January 28). Heart of silk: Scientists use silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135943.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Heart of silk: Scientists use silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135943.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) — Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins