Human Pluripotent Stem Cells: Producing Pericytes for Repairing Damaged Blood Vessels

Researchers from Israel Institute of Technology's Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center used embryonic stem cells and reprogrammed adult stem cells to produce for the first time a cell called pericyte, which can proliferate and survive. Kang angiogenesis plays a key role. This breakthrough may ultimately benefit patients who struggle to recover from cardiovascular disease or severe circulatory damage caused by diseases such as diabetes.

Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, director of Berlin Family Laboratory for Stem Cell Research at the Israel Institute of Technology, and a team led by Dr. Ayelet Dar-Oaknin then injected these peripheral cells into the murine leg muscles, which were damaged and almost completely blocked by blood flow.

In just three weeks, these pericytes rebuild the functional vascular system and even regenerate muscle damaged by lack of oxygen supply. These results provide great hope for the treatment of tissue damage in patients suffering from heart or vascular diseases and a series of other diseases.

Rafael Beyar, director of Reeben Medical Center and former director of Rababot Medical College, said the findings had "huge medical potential" and "there is still a long way to go for patients", but people may also "not have to wait too long".

Peripheral cells, the focus of research, are produced using embryonic stem cells (from donor fertilized eggs) and adult stem cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to become "pluripotent". Because pericytes are constructed from patients'own stem cells, they can be transplanted and healed without the risk of rejection.

Professor Itskovitz-Eldor is Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ruiben Medical Center and Director of Stem Cell Laboratory and Forman Families Center for Excellence at Israel Institute of Technology.
His research area is stem cell and tissue regeneration.

The findings were recently published in the Journal Circulation of the American Heart Association.
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