Scientists from Canada have developed the first functional pacemaker cells using human pluripotent stem cells.
The cells can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses. It paves the way for alternate biological pacemaker therapy.
- Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.
- These cells can be coaxed in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells. For this purpose researchers had used developmental-biology approach to establish a specific protocol for generating pacemaker cells.
- These human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts and have shown to function as a biological pacemaker, by activating the electrical impulses that trigger the contraction of the heart.
Significance of this research
- Learning how to generate pacemaker cells could help in understanding disorders in pacemaker cells, and provide a cell source for developing a biological pacemaker.
- Biological pacemakers offers promising alternative to electronic pacemakers and overcome their drawbacks as a lack of hormonal responsiveness and t inability to adapt to changes in heart size in pediatric patients.
In general Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the primary pacemaker of the heart that controls the heartbeat throughout life. Defects in these pacemaker cells can lead to heart rhythm disorders that are commonly treated by implantation of electronic pacemaker devices. A pacemaker is a device which is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heartbeats using low-energy electrical impulses.