The use of stem cells for the treatment of the consequences of severe cardiovascular diseases is one of the promising areas of modern cardiology. The main problem today is the adaptation of the implanted cells to the heart muscle in order to avoid their rejection.
One possible way to rehabilitate the heart is to create cardiomyocytes, cardiac muscle cells that are injected by injection. A team of researchers at Columbia University has developed a technique for adapting these cells prior to implantation using electrical stimulation.
Professor of biomedical engineering Vunyak-Novakovich spoke about the results of the work:
“We used electrical stimulation to 'train' cells, regulate their contractile function and improve their ability to fuse with each other. By feeding electrical impulses in the rhythm of the heartbeat, we "taught" the transplanted cell to participate in the work of the heart, stimulate the formation of necessary heart proteins, and helped it become more "adult".
Scientists are currently studying how a maturing heart develops its heartbeat ability, as well as the possibility of safely implanting trained cardiomyocytes into real heart muscle.