Posted on Jan 26, 2016, 6 a.m.
Delivering stem cell factor directly into damaged heart muscle after a heart attack may help repair and regenerate injured tissue.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, with cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart from heart attack or poor blood supply due to clogged arteries being the most common causes of the condition. In addition, cardiomyopathy causes a loss of cardiomyocyte cells that control heartbeat, and changes in heart shape, which lead to the heart's decreased pumping efficiency. cKit+ cells are a critical cardiac cytokine, or protein receptor, that bond to stem cell factors. They naturally increase after myocardial infarction and through cell proliferation are involved in cardiac repair. Kenneth Fish, from Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York, USA), and colleagues administered stem cell factor (SCF) by gene transfer shortly after inducing heart attacks in pre-clinical models directly into damaged heart tissue to test its regenerative repair response. A novel SCF gene transfer delivery system induced the recruitment and expansion of adult c-Kit positive (cKit+) cardiac stem cells to injury sites that reversed heart attack damage. In addition, the gene therapy improved cardiac function, decreased heart muscle cell death, increased regeneration of heart tissue blood vessels, and reduced the formation of heart tissue scarring. The study authors report that: “[Stem cell factor] gene transfer was associated with improved cardiac function in a pre-clinical model of ischemic cardiomyopathy.”
Ishikawa K, Fish K, Aguero J, Yaniz-Galende E, Jeong D, Kho C, Tilemann L, Fish L, Liang L, Eltoukhy AA, Anderson DG. “Stem Cell Factor Gene Transfer Improves Cardiac Function After Myocardial Infarction in Swine.” Circ Heart Fail. 2014 Oct 23. pii.