Generating Cardiac Precursor Cells

Researchers derive cardiac precursors to form cardiac muscle, endothelial, and smooth muscle cells in mice.

Kerry Grens
Kerry Grens
Jun 1, 2016

TRANSFORMED: Mouse heart muscle cells derived from induced cardiovascular progenitor cellsYU ZHANG

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN CELL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

The paper
Y. Zhang et al., “Expandable cardiovascular progenitor cells reprogrammed from fibroblasts,” Cell Stem Cell, 18:368-81, 2016.

The trials
To repair cardiac damage after a heart attack, numerous clinical studies have experimented with injecting a variety of potentially therapeutic cells into patients, but very little of the introduced material sticks around. It’s thought these cells act indirectly—via paracrine mechanisms—to regrow heart muscle, and the benefits have been modest at best. So Sheng Ding of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and the University of California, San Francisco, has been working on another idea: produce progenitor cells that will grow into new heart tissue.

Precursors
Ding’s team succeeded in generating easy-to-grow progenitor cells—either from induced pluripotent stem cells or directly from fibroblasts—that could become any of three lineages...