Stem Cell Research : Stem Cells

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STEM CELLS WORKING TO SPECIALIZE INTO CARDIAC CELLS

Once the stem cells are delivered near the damaged areas of the heart, the regeneration of cardiac (heart) cells is possible. There is a lack of understanding on how or why specifically the stem cells turn into heart cells. “Recent studies indicated that the benefits associated with adult stem cell injection might come from paracrine effects, the effect of a nearby cell sending chemical and electrical signals to the stem cell, and not from myocardial differentiation” [6]. Experiments show that bone marrow stem cells “produce and secrete a broad variety of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, [all of which] promote cardiac repair [7]. These paracrine factors “influence adjacent cells and exert their actions” on the damaged cardiac cells [7]. It might be that the stem cells do not even differentiate into cardiac cells, but instead promote repair through exchanges of signals. “Recent work suggests that coupling of myocytes to adjacent cells, tissues, and extra cellular matrix results in external cues that shape ventricular myocytes architecture” [8]. Basically, the surrounding heart cells connect with the stem cells to essentially form the shape of the original area of the heart. The cells “wrap around the ventricular cavities in the developed heart” [8]. The many therapies discussed in the previous section “assume that transplanted cells will support…ability for differentiation and functional integration into the host

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