Stem cells from young hearts could reverse ageing in old hearts

Written by Adam Tarring

Researchers have discovered that that ageing in the heart can be reversed by infusing cardiac stem cells from a young heart into an old heart, in a murine model.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai (CA, USA) have discovered that injecting cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) from a young into an old murine model can reverse ageing in the heart. The study was recently published in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers injected CDCs from a newborn murine model into an aged murine model with an average of 22 months. Baseline heart function was measured against a younger murine model with an average age of 4 months, using echocardiograms, treadmill stress tests and blood analysis.

“Our previous lab studies and human clinical trials have shown promise in treating heart failure using cardiac stem cell infusions,” commented study primary investigator and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Eduardo Marbán. “Now we find that these specialized stem cells could turn out to reverse problems associated with aging of the heart.”

The murine models that received the CDCs showed improved heart function, had longer heart cell telomeres, had improved heart capacity and regrew hair faster.

“The way the cells work to reverse aging is fascinating,” explained Marbán. “They secrete tiny vesicles that are chock-full of signaling molecules such as RNA and proteins. The vesicles from young cells appear to contain all the needed instructions to turn back the clock.”

“This study didn’t measure whether receiving the CDCs extended lifespans, so we have a lot more work to do,” concluded study first author Lilian Grigorian-Shamagian (Cedars-Sinai). “We have much to study, including whether CDCs need to come from a young donor to have the same rejuvenating effects and whether the extracellular vesicles are able to reproduce all the rejuvenating effects we detect with CDCs.”

Sources: Grigorian-Shamagian L, Liu W, Fereydooni S et al. Cardiac and systemic rejuvenation after cardiosphere-derived cell therapy in senescent rats. Eur. Heart J.… (2017) (Epub ahead of print);…