July 3, 2009
Bone Marrow Stem Cells May Help Heart
U.S. researchers, in a study in mice, found bone marrow stem cells improve cardiac function.
Study author Dr. Yerem Yeghiazarians of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues administered three different groups of mice with bone marrow cells, bone marrow cell extract, or saline for the control group.
The injections were administered three days after a heart attack. At day 28, both the bone marrow cell group and the extract group had significantly smaller heart damage than the control group.
The extract derived from bone marrow cells helped decrease the formation of scar tissue and improved cardiac pumping capacity. Both the cell and cell extract therapies resulted in the presence of more blood vessels and less cardiac cell death -- apoptosis -- than no therapy.
Peer-reviewed medical literature is controversial as to whether bone marrow cells differentiate into cardiomyocytes, or cardiac muscle cells, but there is general agreement that stem cell therapy with these cells results in some level of functional improvement after a heart attack, Yeghiazarians said in a statement.
The exact mechanism for this is not yet clear. Our results confirm that whole cells are not necessarily required in order to see the beneficial effects of bone marrow cell therapy.
The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Therapy.