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Pretreated Stem Cells Better Adapt to Transplant Site

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers at the Ohio State University Medical Center have found that “pretreating” adult stem cells with an anti-angina drug allows them to better adapt to the harsh environment of their transplantation site. Scientists are studying whether transplanted cells eliminate or slow the tissue deterioration that would lead to heart failure.

As part of the research, adult stem cells from the bone marrow of rats were pretreated with Trimetazidine, or TMZ. The stem cells were then grown under low oxygen conditions to mimic their native and destination environments, and exposed to stressful conditions that exist in the damaged heart tissue. The pretreated stem cells provided a substantially better therapeutic effect in restoring heart function.

“Transplanted stem cells can repair many types of tissue damage, including heart tissue,” says Dr. Periannan Kuppusamy, associate director of the Ohio State Medical Center’s Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. “However, most of the stem cells transplanted in the heart die within a few days due to lack of oxygen and nutrients.”

Kuppusamy’s research is discussed in the journal Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Stem cell-based cardiac therapy is an experimental procedure in which stem cells are transplanted to the damaged region of the heart in patients who have suffered a heart attack.

“The oxygen- and blood-deprived region of the damaged heart is not a favorable environment for cultured cells to survive,” adds Kuppusamy. “TMZ treatment prior to transplantation may present a way to ‘train’ or prepare the cells for these unfavorable conditions, thus increasing the number of cells that survive transplantation.”

Future studies will evaluate similar drugs developed in the laboratory, with a goal of performing clinical testing in humans.

The research was performed at Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. Funding from the National Institutes of Health supported this research.

In addition to Kuppusamy, other researchers included Dr. Mahmood Khan of the OSU Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Dr. Benjamin Sun of OSU Medical Center’s Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Dr. Kalman Hideg of the University of Pecs in Hungary.

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