The mitral valve is present in the left side of the heart between the upper and lower chambers and it controls the flow of blood between these chambers. When the heart is functioning optimally, the mitral valve becomes completely closed after each heartbeat – thus preventing the blood from flowing back into the upper chamber.
However, in people with mitral valve prolapse, one or both leaflets of the mitral valve stretch more than normal or have extra tissue, which causes them to bulge into the left atrium like a parachute – each time the heart contracts. This bulging prevents the valve from closing tightly. In most cases, blood leaks backward through the valve, also known as mitral valve regurgitation.
When heart valves are seriously damaged, they cannot be fixed; the only option left is replacement surgery. Repair of the damaged heart is an old dream of cardiac physicians. Experimental studies showed that cardiac transfer of progenitor and stem cells can have a beneficial impact on contractile performance and tissue perfusion of the injured heart. Some
researchers are in favor of stable stem cell engraftment by transdifferentiation or fusion into vascular cell lineages or cardiomyocytes as they are very beneficial. Others have suggested that retention of transient cells may be sufficient to promote functional abilities, e.g., by the release of peregrine mediators.
Use Of Stem Cells To Repair Valve
Tissue engineering of heart valves holds the potential to reduce the limitations of currently used heart valve prostheses. It involves the isolation and expansion of autologous patient cardiac cells, the adequate seeding of these cells onto a proper scaffold material, the (in vitro) incubation and (the in vivo) implantation of the new tissue-engineered construct into the patient from whom the host cells were taken. While vascular-derived cells show limited expansion capacities and require harvesting of intact donor tissue, the use of progenitor or stem cells may overcome these limitations by expanding the versatility of the process of heart valve tissue engineering. Possible sources of tissue engineering include cells isolated from bone marrow, blood, adipose tissue, chorionic villi, amniotic fluid, induced pluripotent stem cells, and umbilical cord.
The stem cells, which are mostly taken from bone marrow, can be inserted into the heart with the help of a catheter. Once placed, stem cells help in the regeneration of damaged heart tissue. Researchers are using stem and progenitor cells in two ways to improve cardiac health. Firstly,
they are turning stem cells into “cardiac muscle in a dish.” If cardiac diseases of patients are based on genetic causes, their stem cell-derived heart muscle will contain this disease and thus these heart muscles can be used to discover new drugs. Secondly, stem cells offer various ways to replace damaged heart tissue valves. Using cellular therapies, researchers hope to replace or repair heart tissue and valves. Unlike the other treatments listed above, stem cell therapy provides a durable treatment for heart problems, rather than just the symptom-focused treatment.
The field is young. Some studies have shown modest or no improvement in heart functioning, but others have shown dramatic improvement in cardiac function as well as the quality of life. At the stem cell transplant institute, we are offering stem cell therapy for remodeling damaged heart tissues and treating cardiac diseases – including mitral valve prolapse. We have a dedicated team of board-certified doctors who specializes in stem cell transplantation. Our team is here to provide you the quality treatment that will help ease your symptoms and improve the quality of life.