Science has long known that recovery from experimental heart attacks is improved by injection of a mixture of heart muscle cells, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells, yet results have been limited by poor engraftment and retention, and researchers worry about potential tumorigenesis and heart arrhythmia. Now, research in pigs shows that using the exosomes naturally produced from that mixture of heart muscle cells, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells--which were all derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)--yields regenerative benefits equivalent to the injected human induced pluripotent stem cell-cardiac cells, or hiPSC-CCs. Exosomes are sub-cellular, cell-released, membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs) that can contain biologically active proteins, RNAs, and microRNAs. Exosomes are well known to participate in cell-to-cell communication, and they are actively studied as potential clinical therapies. “The hiPSC-CC exosomes are acellular and, consequently, may enable physicians to exploit the cardioprotective and reparative properties of hiPSC-derived cells while avoiding the complexities associated with tumorigenic risks, cell storage, transportation, and immune rejection,” said Ling Gao, PhD, and Jianyi “Jay” Zhang (photo), MD, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), corresponding authors of the study, published online on September 16, 2020 in Science Translational Medicine. “Thus, exosomes secreted by hiPSC-derived cardiac cells improved myocardial recovery without increasing the frequency of arrhythmogenic complications and may provide an acellular therapeutic option for myocardial injury.” The article is titled “Exosomes Secreted by hiPSC-Derived Cardiac Cells Improve Recovery From Myocardial Infarction In Swine.” At UAB, Dr.
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