Researchers from Mayo Clinic have discovered stem cell-activated mechanisms, that restore heart tissue after a heart attack. This discovery provides an opportunity to look closer at underlying mechanisms of tissue repair by stem cells.

Research, published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine reports in detail on how human cardiopoietic cells (cells, retrieved from bone marrow) find damaged proteins to reset damages to heart tissue, caused by a heart attack.

“The extent of change caused by a heart attack is too great for the heart to repair itself or to prevent further damage from occurring. Notably, however, cardiopoietic stem cell therapy reversed, either fully or partially, two-thirds of these disease-induced changes, such that 85 percent of all cellular functional categories affected by disease responded favorably to treatment,”

said doctor Andre Terzic, director of the Mayo Clinic Centre for Regenerative Medicine and also one of the main authors of the study.

The actual mode of action of stem cells in repairing a diseased organ has until now been poorly understood, limiting adoption in clinical care. This study sheds light on the most intimate, yet comprehensive, regenerative mechanisms paving a road map for responsible and increasingly informed stem cell application.

Also, according to Doctor Kent Arrell, one of the co-authors of the research, cardiopoietic cells also started to generate new blood vessels on and around the heart.


Research have compared hearts of mice that have received therapy using human cardiopoietic cells and those who haven’t. During a heart attack, over 10% of 4000 cardiac proteins are damaged. Focusing on those proteins, researchers found out that mice, which received the therapy shown a remarkable progress in undoing the damage, with the cardiac muscle returning to its’ pre-heart attack state.