Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers have uncovered stem cell-activated mechanisms of healing after a heart attack. Stem cells restored cardiac muscle back to its condition before the heart attack, in turn providing a blueprint of how stem cells may work.
The study, published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine, finds that human cardiopoietic cells zero in on damaged proteins to reverse complex changes caused by a heart attack. Cardiopoietic cells are derived from adult stem cell sources of bone marrow.
“The extent of change caused by a heart attack is too great for the heart to repair itself or to prevent further damage from occurring. Notably, however, cardiopoietic stem cell therapy reversed, either fully or partially, two-thirds of these disease-induced changes, such that 85% of all cellular functional categories affected by disease responded favorably to treatment,” says Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Terzic is the senior author of the study.
This new understanding of how stem cells restore heart health could provide the framework for broader applications of stem cell therapy across various conditions.
“The actual mode of action of stem cells in repairing a diseased organ has until now been poorly understood, limiting adoption in clinical care. This study sheds light on the most intimate, yet comprehensive, regenerative mechanisms ― paving a road map for responsible and increasingly informed stem cell application,” says Dr. Terzic.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S.