Spinach Turns Into Heart Tis­sue

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

Spinach leaves are ideal for grow­ing heart tis­sue, ac­cord­ing to the Worces­ter Polytech­nic In­sti­tute which man­aged to grow func­tional heart cells in the green leaves of a lo­cal veg­etable mar­ket. In the ex­per­i­ment, the sci­en­tists first in­jected a "deter­gent" into the spinach leaves to wash out the plant cells. A skele­ton re­mained – com­plete with the fine vas­cu­lar net­work which nor­mally sup­plies the leaf cells with wa­ter and nu­tri­ents and has the same struc­ture as blood ves­sels. Then sci­en­tists grew hu­man heart mus­cle cells in the vas­cu­lar sys­tem of the leaf, con­vert­ing the leaf into a beat­ing heart with func­tional blood ves­sels.

Tis­sue for the treat­ment of in­jured hearts is dif­fi­cult to make in the lab due to its com­plex vas­cu­lar net­work, but the new method brings us closer to ar­ti­fi­cial heart tis­sue.

Spinach leaves' fine vas­cu­lar net­work can bring nu­tri­ents and oxy­gen to ar­ti­fi­cial heart tis­sue.

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