Researchers in Germany have found that epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), where epithelial cells from placenta are converted into mesenchymal cells and the transitioned cells are transplanted, is beneficial for cardiac regeneration by lowering infract size.
They concluded that EMT enhanced the cardioprotective effects of human AECs.The study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation but is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-ct1046Roy. The authors noted that AECs have been shown to share characteristics of pluripotent cells that are able to transform into all other kinds of cells, and that their isolation and clinical-grade expansion of AECs is "relatively straightforward." Our hypothesis was that EMT would improve cardiac regeneration capacity of amniotic epithelial cells by increasing their mobility and extracellular matrix modulating capacity," said study corresponding author Dr. Christof Stamm of the Berlin Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Berlin, Germany. "Indeed, four weeks after the mice were modeled with myocardial infarction the mice subsequently treated with EMT-AECs were associated with markedly reduced infarct size."According to the researchers, as a result of the EMT process the AECs lost their "cobblestone" structure and acquired a fibroblastoid shape which was associated with a number of biological alterations that ultimately aided their mobility and altered their secretions.