Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
In the U.S., someone suffers a heart attack every 34 seconds - their heart is starved of oxygen and suffers irreparable damage. Engineering new heart tissue in the laboratory that could eventually be implanted into patients could help, and scientists are reporting a promising approach tested with rat cells. They published their results on growing cardiac muscle using a scaffold containing carbon nanofibers in the ACS journal Biomacromolecules.
Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Rui L. Reis, Ana Martins and colleagues point out that when damaged, adult heart tissue can't heal itself very well. The only way to fix an injured heart is with a transplant. But within the past decade, interest in regenerating just the lost tissue has surged. The trick is to find materials that, among other things, are nontoxic, won't get attacked by the body's immune system and allow for muscle cells to pass the electrical signals necessary for the heart to beat. Previous research has found that chitosan, which is obtained from shrimp and other crustacean shells, nearly fits the bill. In lab tests, scientists have used it as a scaffold for growing heart cells. But it doesn't transmit electrical signals well. Vunjak-Novakovic's team decided to build on the chitosan development and coax it to function more like a real heart.
To the chitosan, they added carbon nanofibers, which can conduct electricity, and grew neonatal rat heart cells on the resulting scaffold. After two weeks, cells had filled all the pores and showed far better metabolic and electrical activity than with a chitosan scaffold alone. The cells on the chitosan/carbon scaffold also expressed cardiac genes at higher levels.
The authors acknowledge funding from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, POPH-QREN—Advanced Formation, the European Social Fund, the National Fund and the National Institutes of Health. The work was a collaboration between Columbia University and 3B´s - University of Minho, Portugal.
Electrically conductive chitosan/carbon scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering, Ana M. Martins , George Eng , Sofia G Caridade , João F. Mano , Rui L. Reis , and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Biomacromolecules (2014) DOI: 10.1021/bm401679q
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Heart Disease category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
American Chemical Society. "Fixing damaged hearts through tissue engineering." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 24 Jan. 2014. Web.
24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/271600>
American Chemical Society. (2014, January 24). "Fixing damaged hearts through tissue engineering." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/271600.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.