Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Hearty Stem Cells
18 February 2015

Hearty Stem Cells

Your heart is made up of muscle cells that squeeze and expand rhythmically to pump blood round your body. It's the long, stringy fibres inside them – the fine stripes in these heart cells – that are responsible for making sure our hearts keep beating. They act like springy elastic bands, changing the shape of the muscle cells as they work. To understand what happens when things go wrong and the heart stops beating properly, researchers are studying the organisation of these fibres in heart cells grown in the lab. Rather than having to constantly use samples from animal hearts for their work, scientists created these cells from stem cells, which can be persuaded to turn into different types of tissue by treating them in certain ways.

Written by Kat Arney

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