A stem cell secreted protein can be given to improve heart function after experimental heart attack

November 17, 2010

DURHAM, N.C. -- Heart tissue and stem cells spring into action to begin repairing muscle damaged in a heart attack, and researchers at Duke University School of Medicine found that a protein naturally produced in the body may potentially play a role in accelerating heart muscle repair. Giving the right dose of this protein named secreted frizzled related protein 2 (sfrp2) in studies of rats helped to prevent heart failure and reduce collagen layering that can form thick scar tissue after a heart attack (also called MI, or myocardial infarction). Previously the same researchers demonstrated that this protein also saves heart muscle cells from dying in response to heart attack.

These findings have the potential to be translated into a new therapy for study and evaluation in human clinical trials, said Victor Dzau, M.D., senior author of the study and James B Duke Professor of Medicine.

"We found that giving the study rats the protein sfrp2 strongly improved heart function in the critical pumping chamber, the left ventricle, after a myocardial infarction," Dr. Dzau said. "We observed that sfrp2 at therapeutic doses reduced heart muscle death and also directly prevented deposits of collagen, and thus reduced the scarring that can affect heart function."

The study was published the week of Nov. 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition online.

Giving sfrp2 also helped prevent the heart wall from thinning, by the fourth week after injection. Because the scarring process (fibrosis) and tissue remodeling in the heart are often complete within a month of a heart attack in rats, the team performed a heart test called echocardiography (heart ultrasound) on the rats at three and four weeks after the myocardial infarction.

"We found the sfrp2 reduced the area of fibrosis in the left ventricle and also significantly decreased the ratio of anterior-to-posterior wall thickness in the heart," said Maria Mirotsou, Ph.D., a co-author and assistant professor of medicine.

Previously, the Dzau laboratory showed that a genetically modified type of stem cell that over-produced a factor called Akt dramatically reduced the size of the area affected by a heart attack and restored cardiac function in rodent hearts. The team identified sfrp2 as a key factor released by these stem cells during heart tissue survival and repair, and this study showed sfrp2 was a likely candidate for inhibiting collagen production, as well.
-end-
Other authors include lead author Wei He, Lunan Zhang, Aiguo Ni, Zhiping Zhang, Lan Mao, and Richard E. Pratt, all of the Dzau laboratory in the Mandel Center for Hypertension Research and the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Duke Department of Medicine.

The work was funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grants and grants from the Edna and Fred L. Mandel, Jr. Foundation and the Leducq Foundation.

Duke University Medical Center

Related Stem Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

SUTD researchers create heart cells from stem cells using 3D printing
SUTD researchers 3D printed a micro-scaled physical device to demonstrate a new level of control in the directed differentiation of stem cells, enhancing the production of cardiomyocytes.

More selective elimination of leukemia stem cells and blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy donor can help patients suffering from acute leukemia.

Computer simulations visualize how DNA is recognized to convert cells into stem cells
Researchers of the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW - The Netherlands) and the Max Planck Institute in Münster (Germany) have revealed how an essential protein helps to activate genomic DNA during the conversion of regular adult human cells into stem cells.

First events in stem cells becoming specialized cells needed for organ development
Cell biologists at the University of Toronto shed light on the very first step stem cells go through to turn into the specialized cells that make up organs.

Surprising research result: All immature cells can develop into stem cells
New sensational study conducted at the University of Copenhagen disproves traditional knowledge of stem cell development.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

Healthy blood stem cells have as many DNA mutations as leukemic cells
Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology have shown that the number of mutations in healthy and leukemic blood stem cells does not differ.

New method grows brain cells from stem cells quickly and efficiently
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a faster method to generate functional brain cells, called astrocytes, from embryonic stem cells.

NUS researchers confine mature cells to turn them into stem cells
Recent research led by Professor G.V. Shivashankar of the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore and the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy, has revealed that mature cells can be reprogrammed into re-deployable stem cells without direct genetic modification -- by confining them to a defined geometric space for an extended period of time.

Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have for the first time succeeded in converting human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes.

Read More: Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.