Virus used to build biological pacemaker

guinea pig

The heartbeat is typically run by the sinoatrial node (or SA node), a cluster of ~10,000 SA cells. Once these pacemaker cells die or are damaged by age and disease, they cease to function properly. At this point, surgeons insert a mechanical device, the pacemaker, to replace the function of the SA node.

Pacemakers are problematic. They break, they’re prone to interference (at least in theory) from all sorts of electronic devices, and they need to be recharged. Researchers Nidhi Kapoor, Hee Cheol Cho, and their colleagues suggest an alternative.

Researchers isolated newborn rat cardiac myocytes (muscle cells) and infected them using bicistronic adenoviral vectors expressing transcription factor genes for a number of genes thought to be vital to cardiac cell development. They found surprisingly, that the activation of one gene, Tbx18, can transform ordinary cardiac muscle cells into sinoatrial node pacemaker cells.

In fact, once transformed the induced SA node pacemaker cells (termed iSAN) are indistinguishable from genuine SA node pacemaker cells. Seven guinea pigs (literally) were subject to new induced SA node rodent pacemakers, and 5 developed heartbeats originating from their iSANs.

It’s important to note that researchers avoided embryonic stem cells. On more than once occasion the implantation of embryonic stem cells or embryonic stell cell derived tissue implanted in adults leads to cancer or cancer precursors.

As such, researchers are hopeful:

Myocytes transduced in vivo acquire the cardinal tapering morphology and physiological automaticity of native SAN pacemaker cells. The creation of induced SAN pacemaker (iSAN) cells opens new prospects for bioengineered pacemakers.

Source via

Supeding

Pastry Chef (https://butterhub.org), software engineer (http://jamesding.org), and fitness enthusiast.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Read more:
How bad is flu this season?

Google trends is tracking flu term searching as a measure of how many people get sick. They say: We've found...

Top 200 Drugs Last Year

Graciously compiled by Njardarson Group (The University of Arizona): Edon Vitaku, Elizabeth A. Ilardi, Jón T. Njarðarson are the top 200...

How to not die by sitting all day

I've heard more than once from resident ergonomics coaches the company hires  that sitting is killing me, albeit slowly. This...

Consistency of Calipers on Body Fat Measurements

DXA scanning is considered the gold standard for effective body fat measurements. The DXA scan is able to output decently...

Close