Spinach Leaves Converted To Heart Tissue By Researchers; Know More About It

By Jeff Thompson - 27 Mar '17 19:12PM

In a recent development, scientists could convert the spinach leaves into a human heart muscle, and this can be helpful for further advancement of a long-standing problem - repairing the damaged organs. Considering the thickness and the compact cells in heart muscles, there were no successful options to create small blood vessels in the muscles for years, and the recent development may pave the way to solve a problem that causes the deaths of millions of cardiac patients.

"The major factor that limits us in tissue engineering is the well-functioning vascular network," a graduate student and study co-author from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts. "Without a proper vascular network, the heart tissues die." The leaf has a number of veins in to serve water and nutrients to its cells, and the researchers found that the mechanism can be replicated in delivering blood through human tissues. To facilitate this, the leaf cells or plants cells must be removed from it in the lab.

The researchers put the leaf frame in human cells to make human cells grow around it. After the leaf is transformed into a small heart, researchers passed fluids and microbeads into the veins to see whether it can pass the blood cells. The experiment was successful, and this is expected to help replace the damaged heart tissue in heart attacks or any other type of cardiac issues which prevent the proper functioning of the heart.

Now, the research team is thinking about the possibilities of using other plants to repair tissues from other parts of the body. For instance, studies are going on in learning to substitute wood cells to fix the broken human bones. "We have plenty more to do, but it is promising," said Glenn Gaudette, the study's co-author who is also from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "Adapting plants that are in abundance could solve a number of problems currently limiting the field."

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