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quinta-feira, setembro 30, 2010

'Firefly' Stem Cells May Help Repair Damaged Hearts

ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2010) — Stem cells that glow like fireflies could someday help doctors heal damaged hearts without cutting into patients' chests.

Stem cells engineered with the 'firefly' enzyme glow brighter and brighter as they develop into healthy heart muscle, allowing doctors to track whether and where the stem cells are working. (Credit: iStockphoto/Brandon Alms)

In his University of Central Florida lab, Steven Ebert engineered stem cells with the same enzyme that makes fireflies glow. The "firefly" stem cells glow brighter and brighter as they develop into healthy heart muscle, allowing doctors to track whether and where the stem cells are working.

Researchers are keenly interested in stem cells because they typically morph into the organs where they are transplanted. But why and how fast they do it is still a mystery. Now Ebert's cells give researchers the ability to see the cells in action with the use of a special camera lens that picks up the glow under a microscope.

"The question that we answered was, 'How do you follow these cells in the lab and find out where they're going?'" said Ebert, an associate professor in UCF's College of Medicine.

If doctors can figure out exactly how the cells repair and regenerate cardiac tissue, stem cell therapies could offer hope to more than 17.6 million Americans who suffer from coronary disease. The glow of the enzyme also means therapies would no longer require cutting into patients' chest cavities to monitor the healing.


Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Science Daily


Generation of Novel Reporter Stem Cells and Their Application for Molecular Imaging of Cardiac-Differentiated Stem Cells In Vivo

To cite this article:

Ramana K. Kammili, David G. Taylor, Jixiang Xia, Kingsley Osuala, Kellie Thompson, Donald R. Menick, Steven N. Ebert. Stem Cells and Development. September 2010, 19(9): 1437-1448. doi:10.1089/scd.2009.0308.Published in Volume: 19 Issue 9: September 3, 2010
Online Ahead of Print: August 19, 2010
Online Ahead of Editing: January 28, 2010

1Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.
2Gazes Cardiac Research Institute, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Address correspondence to:
Dr. Steven N. Ebert
Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences
College of MedicineUniversity of Central Florida
6900 Lake Nona Blvd
Orlando, FL 32827E-mail:

Received for publication August 12, 2009
Accepted after revision January 28, 2010

Stem cell therapies offer the potential for repair and regeneration of cardiac tissue. To facilitate evaluation of stem cell activity in vivo, we created novel dual-reporter mouse embryonic stem (mES) cell lines that express the firefly luciferase (LUC) reporter gene under the control of the cardiac sodium–calcium exchanger-1 (Ncx-1) promoter in the background of the 7AC5-EYFP mES cell line that constitutively expresses the enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP). We compared the ability of recombinant clonal cell lines to express LUC before and after induction of cardiac differentiation in vitro. In particular, one of the clonal cell lines (Ncx-1-43LUC mES cells) showed markedly enhanced LUC expression (45-fold increase) upon induction of cardiac differentiation in vitro. Further, cardiac differentiation in these cells was perpetuated over a period of 2–4 weeks after transplantation in a neonatal mouse heart model, as monitored by noninvasive bioluminescence imaging (BLI) and confirmed via postmortem immunofluorescence and histological assessments. In contrast, transplantation of undifferentiated pluripotent Ncx-1-43LUC mES cells in neonatal hearts did not result in detectable levels of cardiac differentiation in these cells in vivo. These results suggest that prior induction of cardiac differentiation in vitro enhances development and maintenance of a cardiomyocyte-like phenotype for mES cells following transplantation into neonatal mouse hearts in vivo. We conclude that the Ncx-1-43LUC mES cell line is a novel tool for monitoring early cardiac differentiation in vivo using noninvasive BLI.


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