The worldwide leading cause of death is heartfailure caused by myocardial infarction; there are not treatments that preventheart failure, only delay its progression. There are stem cells present in theheart that are able to differentiate, particularly into cardiac muscle cells.
Since cardiac muscle cells are capable of being regenerated, heart failure isable to be suspended (Segers and Lee 2008). The use of stem cell replacementtherapy for heart diseases is not a common treatment choice. One of the biggestissues in using stem cells for cardiac diseases is in choosing which type ofstem cell to use because their effects on cardiac performance is still beingstudied.
It has been common to use bone-marrow derived stem cells in the treatmentof heart diseases. However, this type of stem cell does not reflect the type ofcell that would be growing within the heart to generate myocardium (Segers andLee 2008). Jackson and colleagues (2001) conducted a study to find a stem cellwith the ability to restore damaged myocardium. The researchers implantedhematopoietic stem cells from mice bone marrow into mice with coronary arterialblockages. The grafted stem cells differentiated to cardiomyocytes andendothelial cells, lac-Z positive cells moved into the cardiac tissue torestore myofibrils, which formed functional cardiac tissues (Jackson et al.2001).
This study showed that bonemarrow derived hematopoietic stem cells influences the repair of tissuesbecause of its renewal ability with endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Inthis particular study, the number of cells that were regenerated were low. However,for application to humans the methods could be improved so that there would behigher efficiency (Jackson et al.
2001). This study gives a potentialexperimental therapeutic use of stem cells for the long-term treatment of heartdiseases. Embryonicstem cells and iPSCs are most commonly used in stem cell medical research.
However,adult stem cells do serve a purpose of repairing the tissues that they arefound in. Adult embryonic stem cells and its medical applications were studiedby Gonzalez-Rey and colleagues (2009). They aimed to find if adipose tissuederived adult stem cells could reduce the bacteria and microbial side effectsof inflammatory bowel diseases in infected mice. From this experiment,Gonzalez-Rey and colleagues found that the organisms infused with adult stemcells had fewer side effects from irritable bowel syndrome, and ultimately hadlower rates of sepsis because of the ability of the stem cells to downregulatethe production of inflammatory mediators (Gonzalez-Rey et al. 2009).