Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Heart Cells Change Stem Cell Behavior

Published: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Rice University, Texas Children’s study shows amniotic fluid stem cells, heart cells pass signals without touching.

Stem cells drawn from amniotic fluid show promise for tissue engineering, but it’s important to know what they can and cannot do. A new study by researchers at Rice University and Texas Children’s Hospital has shown that these stem cells can communicate with mature heart cells and form electrical couplings with each other similar to those found in heart tissue. But these electrical connections alone do not prompt amniotic cells to become cardiac cells.

The study led by bioengineer Jeff Jacot, who has a joint appointment at Rice and Texas Children’s, is part of ongoing research into repairing the hearts of infants born with congenital defects. Jacot’s lab is designing scaffold patches that can be implanted into infant hearts. The patches, seeded with stem cells from the mother’s own amniotic fluid, would ideally prompt the growth of healthy tissue that would not be rejected.

But to get there, researchers have to figure out how signals that are passed from cell to cell might guide stem cells to differentiate into heart tissue.

In a paper that appears in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Jacot and his team found that amniotic fluid stem cells that are cultured with but physically separated from rat heart cells (to keep them from fusing) don’t differentiate into heart cells. But the stem and heart cells do communicate through channels in the thin membrane that allow ions and small molecules to pass.

“People have suggested that if amniotic fluid cells are in an environment where they’re near heart cells, something happens that causes differentiation of the amniotic fluid cells into cardiac tissue,” Jacot said. “We found that isn’t the case.”

He said researchers have seen other types of stem cells take on the characteristics of cardiac cells and determined it was because the cells had fused together. “You get a single cell with proteins from both the stem cells and the heart cells,” he said.

Jacot wanted to see if amniotic cells could take on the characteristics of heart cells if they weren’t allowed to fuse. “We showed there’s no evidence of actual cardiac differentiation, although there were some changes in protein expression (among the stem cells),” he said. But the stem cells “become electrically coupled to each other, like cardiac cells do with each other. That was the main finding: We do get very good electrical coupling, which we call functional gap junction connections.

“Electrical ions or really small molecules that are in one cell can diffuse directly into a cell next to it,” he said. “It’s like they put holes in their membranes when they’re up against each other.”

Knowing what signals are passed is of great value as researchers figure out how to prompt stem cells to differentiate into the desired tissue, Jacot said.

He said other labs are studying how injecting amniotic fluid stem cells directly into hearts can help recovery after a heart attack. “There are a lot of people doing this with bone marrow-derived stem cells in the U.S., including two of the biggest groups in Houston, the Methodist Hospital and the Texas Heart Institute,” Jacot said. “They seem to find what we call paracrine signaling effects, where the stem cells draw in more blood vessel-forming cells. There’s some discussion as to whether they stabilize the cells, but don’t seem to actually make new heart tissue.”

Jacot said there are probably many ways to get amniotic fluid stem cells to differentiate into viable tissue for medical uses, and the new results are just a small step toward the goal of finding the best way.

“What we’ve observed is a little removed from any kind of translational therapeutic aspect,” he said. “But we feel what we’ve observed will help us understand amniotic fluid stem cells in this environment.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,600+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Bacteria Use DNA Replication to Time Key Decision
Rice University researchers have found that in spore-forming bacteria, chromosomal locations of genes can couple the DNA replication cycle to critical decisions about whether to reproduce or form spores.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Massive Genome Shift in one Generation
A team of biologists has discovered that an agricultural pest that began plaguing U.S. apple growers in the 1850s likely did so after undergoing extensive and genome-wide changes in a single generation.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
DNA Mutations get Harder to Hide
Rice University researchers have developed a method to detect rare DNA mutations with an approach hundreds of times more powerful than current methods.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Amniotic Stem Cells Demonstrate Healing Potential
Rice University, Texas Children’s Hospital study proves cells promote vasculature in hydrogel therapy.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Cells Exercise Suboptimal Strategy to Survive
Rice University study shows it’s not always good for cells’ metabolism to work at peak efficiency.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Designing A Better Way To Study Stomach Flu
Texas Medical Center team aims to improve research of gastrointestinal disease.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Worm Virus Details Come to Light
Rice University scientists have won a race to find the crystal structure of rare nematode virus, known to infect the most abundant animal on Earth.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Flu’s Mechanisms Clues Uncovered
Researchers from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have analyzed how influenza-related proteins help infect cells.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Water-cleanup Catalysts Tackle Biomass Upgrading
Rice University researchers register 4th ‘volcano plot’ for palladium-gold catalysts.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Researchers Tune in to Protein Pairs
Rice University team quantifies how mutations affect cell signaling in bacteria.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Rice Scientists ID New Catalyst for Cleanup of Nitrites
Gold-palladium nanocatalysts set new mark for breakdown of nitrites.
Monday, December 02, 2013
New Statistical Tools Being Developed for Mining Cancer Data
Team from Rice, BCM, UT Austin tackling big data variety.
Monday, December 02, 2013
Bad Proteins Branch Out
Rice researchers find misfolded proteins are capable of forming tree-like aggregates.
Monday, December 02, 2013
Have iPod, Will Test for Drug Toxicity
Rice students help Houston-based start-up create drug toxicity app.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Physicists Decode Decision Circuit of Cancer Metastasis
Rice U. research reveals three-way genetic switch for cancer metastasis.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Scientific News
RNAi Screening Trends
Understand current trends and learn which application areas are expected to gain in popularity over the next few years.
Researchers Find U.S. Breast Milk is Glyphosate Free
Washington State University scientists have found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, does not accumulate in mother’s breast milk.
Peering into the Vapors
Research suggests that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than previous studies have indicated.
New Technique for Mining Health-conferring Soy Compounds
A new procedure devised by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists to extract lunasin from soybean seeds could expedite further studies of this peptide for its cancer-fighting potential and other health benefits.
Long-sought Discovery Fills in Missing Details of Cell 'Switchboard'
A biomedical breakthrough reveals never-before-seen details of the human body’s cellular switchboard that regulates sensory and hormonal responses.
Tracking Breast Cancer Before it Grows
A team of scientists led by University of Saskatchewan researcher Saroj Kumar is using cutting-edge Canadian Light Source techniques to screen and treat breast cancer at its earliest changes.
Zebrafish Reveal Drugs that may Improve Bone Marrow Transplant
Compounds boost stem cell engraftment; could allow more matches for patients with cancer and blood diseases.
DNA Damage Seen in Patients Undergoing CT Scanning
Along with the burgeoning use of advanced medical imaging tests over the past decade have come rising public health concerns about possible links between low-dose radiation and cancer.
The Light of Fireflies for Medical Diagnostics
EPFL scientists have exploited the light of fireflies in a new method that detects biological molecules without the need for complex devices and high costs.
Rice Disease-Resistance Discovery Closes the Loop for Scientific Integrity
Researchers reveal how disease resistant rice detects and responds to bacterial infections.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!