Immature human fat cells may help people with heart disease, chronic angina and other conditions caused by poor circulation, U.S. scientists said Monday.
Immature human fat cells may help people with heart disease, chronic angina and other conditions caused by poor circulation, U.S. scientists said Monday. Researchers at Indiana University found certain cells in human fat, known as stromal cells, have stem cell-like properties that allow them to help the body grow new blood vessels to repair both muscle and heart tissue. Stem cells, nature’s building blocks for tissue, most commonly are found for medical use in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. Lead author Dr. Jalees Rehman said fat may be a “renewable resource” for people with poor circulation, adding stromal cells can have a therapeutic effect on individuals with heart disease, chronic angina and leg cramping. Rehman said obesity still carries high risks, however. Stromal cells in fat tissue also make significant amounts of growth factors that boost angiogenesis, the natural growth of blood vessels. The researchers identified several growth factors in the stromal cells that cause the angiogenic effect and are looking for factors that control angiogenesis to develop treatments for heart disease, stroke, dementias and cancer. (Source: United Press International: March 2004: Medline Plus)