Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New stem cell technique promises abundance of key heart cells

Date:
May 28, 2012
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse cells that make up the beating heart, can now be made cheaply and abundantly in the laboratory.

A single human cardiomyocyte grown using a method devised by UW-Madison chemical and biological engineering graduate student Xiaojun Lian. Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse muscle cells of the heart, can now be grown cheaply and abundantly in the lab, thanks to the new method devised by Lian and his colleagues.
Credit: Xiaojun Lian

Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse cells that make up the beating heart, can now be made cheaply and abundantly in the laboratory.

Related Articles


Writing this week (May 28, 2012) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Wisconsin scientists describes a way to transform human stem cells -- both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells -- into the critical heart muscle cells by simple manipulation of one key developmental pathway. The technique promises a uniform, inexpensive and far more efficient alternative to the complex bath of serum or growth factors now used to nudge blank slate stem cells to become specialized heart cells.

"Our protocol is more efficient and robust," explains Sean Palecek, the senior author of the new report and a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of chemical and biological engineering. "We have been able to reliably generate greater than 80 percent cardiomyocytes in the final population while other methods produce about 30 percent cardiomyocytes with high batch-to-batch variability."

The ability to make the key heart cells in abundance and in a precisely defined way is important because it shows the potential to make the production of large, uniform batches of cardiomyocytes routine, according to Palecek. The cells are in great demand for research, and increasingly for the high throughput screens used by the pharmaceutical industry to test drugs and potential drugs for toxic effects.

The capacity to make the heart cells using induced pluripotent stem cells, which can come from adult patients with diseased hearts, means scientists will be able to more readily model those diseases in the laboratory. Such cells contain the genetic profile of the patient, and so can be used to recreate the disease in the lab dish for study. Cardiomyocytes are difficult or impossible to obtain directly from the hearts of patients and, when obtained, survive only briefly in the lab.

Scientists also have high hopes that one day healthy lab-grown heart cells can be used to replace the cardiomyocytes that die as a result of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

"Many forms of heart disease are due to the loss or death of functioning cardiomyocytes, so strategies to replace heart cells in the diseased heart continue to be of interest," notes Timothy Kamp, another senior author of the new PNAS report and a professor of cardiology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "For example, in a large heart attack up to 1 billion cardiomyocytes die. The heart has a limited ability to repair itself, so being able to supply large numbers of potentially patient-matched cardiomyocytes could help."

"These cells will have many applications," says Xiaojun Lian, a UW-Madison graduate student and the lead author of the new study. The beating cells made using the technique he devised have, so far, been maintained in culture in the lab for six months and remain as viable and stable as the day they were created.

Lian and his colleagues found that manipulating a major signaling pathway known as Wnt -- turning it on and off at prescribed points in time using just two off-the-shelf small molecule chemicals -- is enough to efficiently direct stem cell differentiation to cardiomyocytes.

"The fact that turning on and then off one master signaling pathway in the cells can orchestrate the complex developmental dance completely is a remarkable finding as there are many other signaling pathways and molecules involved," says Kamp.

"The biggest advantage of our method is that it uses small molecule chemicals to regulate biological signals," says Palecek. "It is completely defined, and therefore more reproducible. And the small molecules are much less expensive than protein growth factors."

Also contributing to the Wisconsin study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, were Cheston Hsiao, Gisela Wilson, Kexian Zhu, Laurie Hazeltine, Samira M. Azarin, Kunil K. Raval and Jianhua Zhang, all of UW-Madison.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. The original article was written by Terry Devitt. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "New stem cell technique promises abundance of key heart cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154905.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2012, May 28). New stem cell technique promises abundance of key heart cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154905.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "New stem cell technique promises abundance of key heart cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154905.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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