Stem Cells in Circulating Blood Affect Cardiovascular Health

Released: 4/21/2014 8:55 AM EDT Embargo expired: 4/23/2014 5:00 PM EDT Source Newsroom: Ohio State University Contact Information

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Newswise COLUMBUS, Ohio New research suggests that attempts to isolate an elusive adult stem cell from blood to understand and potentially improve cardiovascular health a task considered possible but very difficult might not be necessary.

Instead, scientists have found that multiple types of cells with primitive characteristics circulating in the blood appear to provide the same benefits expected from a stem cell, including the endothelial progenitor cell that is the subject of hot pursuit.

There are people who still dream that the prototypical progenitors for several components of the cardiovascular tree will be found and isolated. I decided to focus the analysis on the whole nonpurified cell population the blood as it is, said Nicanor Moldovan, senior author of the study and a research associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at The Ohio State University.

Our method determines the contributions of all blood cells that serve the same function that an endothelial progenitor cell is supposed to. We can detect the presence of those cells and their signatures in a clinical sample without the need to isolate them.

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Stem cells, including the still poorly understood endothelial progenitor cells, are sought-after because they have the potential to transform into many kinds of cells, suggesting that they could be used to replace damaged or missing cells as a treatment for multiple diseases.

By looking at gene activity patterns in blood, Moldovan and colleagues concluded that many cell types circulating throughout the body may protect and repair blood vessels a key to keeping the heart healthy.

The scientists also found that several types of blood cells retain so-called primitive properties. In this context, primitive is positive because these cells are the first line of defense against an injury and provide a continuous supply of repair tissue either directly or by telling local cells what to do.

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Stem Cells in Circulating Blood Affect Cardiovascular Health

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