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Reprogramming Scar Tissue into Heart Muscle Cells
A heart attack deprives heart tissue of oxygen, killing part of the muscle. The dead space is no longer an environment that muscle cells recognize, so scar tissue fills it in. In this short video, a colony of heart cells contracts. The colony was grown from fibroblasts - a cell type common in scar tissue - that were genetically transformed by researchers at the University of Michigan into heart muscle cells. The team explored using gels of varying stiffness and received funding from the American Heart Association. The group compared a soft commercial gel for growing cells with medium-stiffness fibrin, made of proteins that link with platelets to form blood clots, and with high-stiffness collagen, made of structural proteins.
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