Medical technology

Spinach becomes heart tissue

Vegetables are good for your body - also for the heart. Researchers have turned a spinach leaf into a mini heart with working heart cells.

The network in spinach leaves can bring oxygen and nutrition to artificial heart tissue.

© ORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

Heart tissue from spinach leaves - you just have to come up with it. Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the US were able to cultivate functional heart cells in spinach from the local supermarket.

During a test, they sprayed an agent into the leaves that washed out the plant cells. In this way they retained the skeleton, complete with the fine network of vessels that provide the cells with water and nutrients.

That network has the same structure as blood vessels. The researchers then grew living human heart muscle cells in the leaf vein network, turning the leaves into small beating hearts with working blood vessels.

Spinach skeleton replaces heart

It is difficult to make heart tissue in the lab precisely because of the blood vessel network, while it is desperately needed to repair damaged heart tissue from heart patients.

However, the new method brings us one step closer.

Video: Transforming a Spinach Leaf Into Beating Human Heart Tissue. National Geographic (February 2020).

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