A newly identified set of human cardiovascular progenitor cells can give rise to the three major cell types found in the heart, a Nature paper reveals. The cells, which can be grown in culture, should boost our understanding of cardiovascular development and disease, and may prove useful in regenerative cardiovascular medicine.
The progenitors, isolated from human fetal hearts, can give rise to striated and smooth heart muscle cells, as well as endothelial 'lining' cells. Kenneth Chien and colleagues used two independent transgenic and gene-targeting approaches in human embryonic stem cell lines to show that purified populations of these cells can self-renew and expand before differentiation into more mature cell types.
Kenneth Chien (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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