an older heart get younger? Scientists have found that cardiac stem cells
obtained from the hearts of young rats can rejuvenate the hearts of old rats.
cells (CDC) promote the regeneration of cardiac cells
carried out a study in rats to test the effects of the cells on the aging
- The cells
appeared to rejuvenate the aging cardiac muscle
published their research in the European
Conditions like heart
weaken the heart in due course. They can result in heart
failure, where the pumping action of the heart reduces. Severe cases need heart transplantation;
unfortunately, with the
lack of adequate facilities and donors, and the high costs, heart transplantation
is often near to impossible, especially in India. Therefore, other options are
being evaluated for the treatment of heart disease. Using cardiosphere-derived
cells (CDC) is one of them.
‘Cardiosphere-derived cells (CDC) promoted the regeneration of the aging heart muscle in experiments on rats’
cells (CDC) are cells that have been prepared from cardiac stem cells
. They have a power of regeneration, that is,
they can promote the growth of new heart cells.
The cells do not become a
part of the heart but secrete tiny vesicles filled with small molecules of
chemicals like cytokines and growth factors that help the cells of the heart to
regenerate. The factors reduce the scar formed in the damaged heart, recruit
existing stem cells and increase the growth of heart cells and the density of
blood vessels in the heart.
their study, the scientists obtained cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn
laboratory rats and introduced them into older rats
. They divided the older
rats, with an average age of 22 months, into two groups. They measured the
baseline heart functions through tests that included blood tests,
echocardiogram, treadmill stress test and hemodynamic tests. One group received the cells through
intracardiac injections, while the other group received saline injections, and
served as a control
. The tests were repeated after one month.
The scientists found
If further research on the cardiosphere-derived cells proves successful and the cells are able to rejuvenate an aging heart in humans, the phrase 'Always young at heart' could become a reality, literally!
- The heart
function as well as the structural changes in the heart associated with
aging improved in the rats that received the stem cell infusion.
- The exercise
capacity improved by approximately 20 percent. The exercise capacity is
directly related to the heart function
functional parameters like diastolic dysfunction and end-diastolic
pressure-volume relationship improved as compared to the rats who received
- The cells reduced
the thickening of the heart muscle, as demonstrated by echo, and reduced
scar tissue, as demonstrated by microscopic examination
- When the
chromosomes in the heart cells were examined, the scientists found that
the rats that received the cardiosphere-derived cells had longer telomeres
in the cardiac cells.The telomeres are structures at the ends of
chromosomes that protect the ends and prevent chromosomes from sticking to
each other. Their size normally decreases with age
- The levels of
chemicals that reduce inflammation which included IL-10, IL-1b, and IL-6 reduced and the hair grew faster after shaving in rats that received the cells
- Grigorian-Shamagian L et al. Cardiac and systemic rejuvenation after cardiosphere-derived cell therapy in senescent rats. European Heart Journal (2017), https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx454