The new experimental treatment is based on the delivery of therapeutic molecules to the heart tissue to protect against destruction. It turned out that in addition to maintaining viability, the cells remained functional even in hypoxia.
To find a way to restore heart cells after an attack, scientists focused on the properties of vesicles of vascular tissue, which can provide direct protection of the heart muscle after hypoxic stress in the background of a heart attack. By studying in detail the set of proteins that carry vesicles, they determined that they are almost 2000 pieces.
“Many of these proteins are related to the heart’s stress response, so vesicles can potentially help cells maintain homeostasis, cope with stress and reduce damage,” the scientists explain. The findings of their work are published on the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences website.
They tested their assumptions on a heart-on-chip model that simulates the structure and function of the human heart. They simulated a myocardial infarction and then injected vesicles into tissue.
The vesicles treated the damaged cardiomyocytes looked healthier and more functional and even continued to contract without oxygen. Scientists did not expect this effect to be achieved.
“The results show that vesicles can protect heart tissue from damage, partly by delivering proteins and signal molecules supporting various metabolic processes to the damaged cells,” the authors concluded. For a person, the results point to new opportunities in effective rehabilitation after a heart attack.