Comparative Biosciences faculty member Suzanne Berry-Miller published research from her lab detailing the use of stem cells to prevent the onset of dilated cardiomyopathy, a terminal condition in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, in animal models for the disease. The work appears online ahead of print this month in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Her group used cardiac ultrasound to monitor the function, size of the heart chambers, and thickness of the heart wall in mouse models for Duchenne MD. Transplantation of vessel-derived stem cells called mesoangioblasts into the heart of the mice prevented the decline in heart function, enlargement of the left ventricle, and thinning of the heart wall that are characteristic of the disease and that were present in the sham-injected mice in the study.
Multiple changes were associated with the transplanted cells that may be responsible for the protection from dilated cardiomyopathy. The authors observed formation of new cardiac muscle cells from both the transplanted mesoangioblasts and from cardiac stem cells already present in the heart of the DMD model mice, as well as an increase in the vasculature of the heart. The study may therefore have identified new therapeutic targets for treating dystrophin-deficient cardiomyopathy, including the little-known population of resident cardiac stem cells that produced new heart cells and the potential benefit associated with increasing the vascular supply in the heart for this particular form of muscular dystrophy.
The work is the subject of a press release from the University of Illinois (http://esciencenews.com/articles/2013/01/15/stem.cell.approach.shows.promise.duchenne.muscular.dystrophy
), and a press release from the editors of Stem Cells Translational Medicine (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/1/prweb10304549.htm
). The manuscript was also highlighted on the Website ‘Cell Therapy News’ which features breaking news in the stem cell field, as well as Science Newsline, Stem Cell Roundup, the New York Stem Cell Foundation, Biology News, Health Canal, e! Science News, Eurekalert, and other websites. The following link may be used to access the article: http://stemcellstm.alphamedpress.org/content/early/2012/12/24/sctm.2012-0107.full.pdf+html.