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Cells Grown in Rat Hearts Are Proving to Be Helpful in the Development of Heart Disease Care

by Terry Wilson

Much-maligned rats are proving that humans need them more than they need you even if they are known to also carry repulsive diseases. Research scientists say that trying to generate mature and viable heart muscle cells from humans and other animals to treat heart disease is a difficult task. It does not work. So, they're now experiencing better results from using rat cells to generate mature and viable heart muscle cells in the process of stem cell implantation.

Cells grown in rat hearts are proving to be helpful in the development of heart disease care.

Rat-Hosting Hearts

Scientists maintain that rat-host hearts provide biological signals and chemistry needed from implanted immature heart muscle cells. These cells have managed to overcome developmental blockade, which in the past stopped their growth in lab culture dish testing. Development of scientific methods should influence future studies about how heart disease develops, since that's the cue needed in order to create new treatments and diagnostic tools. Those treatments and tools can then be used to effectively treat developing heart disease.

How Scientists Overcame the Blockade

Research scientists created a cell line of immature heart cells that were removed from embryonic mouse stem cells. They tagged the cells with a fluorescent protein. Next, they injected the cells into the lower heart chamber of newborn nude rats. As a precautionary measure, the scientists made sure that the injected cells were only given to rats that already suffered from deficient immune systems. This ensured that the chosen rats would not attack or reject the newly implanted cells.

Fluorescent-Treated Cells

During the study, fluorescent-treated cells showed signs of resembling immature-looking cells after one week. One month thereafter, they looked like adult heart muscle cells as they exhibited striped patterns and were elongated in shape. When genes from grown mouse cells that grew in rat hearts were compared to genes found in adult heart muscle cells and immature heart cells, the finding was that cells grown in rat hearts were genetically more in common with adult heart muscle cell genetics.

Further Proof of Heart Disease Care Prospects Using Pluripotent Stem Cells Experiment

As further proof of rat cells' research value, scientists used pluripotent stem cells that they took from a patient suffering from arrhythmogenic aventricular cardiomyopathy. They implanted immature heart cells in rat heart ventricles. After a month of growing them in rat ventricles, the cells demonstrated properties of heart tissue like those of patients suffering with the disease. The cells showed heavy deposits of fat, and dying cells outnumbered healthy cells.