Scientists from the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Toronto created mesoderm heart progenitor cells from embryonic stem cells. Such a progenitor line is responsible for the production of three main types of cardiac cells: cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells.
From the press release by McEwen Centre:
Canadian scientist, Dr. Gordon Keller, and his team of international researchers have successfully grown human heart progenitor cells from embryonic stem cells. With this advancement, Dr. Keller, director of Toronto’s McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University Health Network, and his team, have taken a significant step towards the creation of functioning heart tissue.
“This development means that we can efficiently and accurately make different types of human heart cells for use in both basic and clinical research, says Dr. Keller. “The immediate impact of this is significant as we now have an unlimited supply of these cells to study how they develop, how they function and how they respond to different drugs. In the future, these cells may also be very effective in developing new strategies for repairing damaged hearts, following a heart attack.”
The study, a medical first, details supplying embryonic stem cell cultures with a series of factors that direct them to develop into immature heart cells, known as heart progenitor cells. These progenitors are able to make three major cell types found in the human heart – cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. These three cell types are integral to the healthy function of the human heart.
Press release (.pdf)…
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Abstract: Human cardiovascular progenitor cells develop from a KDR+ embryonic-stem-cell-derived population… doi:10.1038/nature06894