NEW YORK — It is a promising new way of connecting blood cells with cells in a system known as the circulation system, which carries oxygen to and from the heart and other organs.
But new research by a team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, shows how the cells can also help heal blood vessels in the brain and other areas.
They report their findings in the online edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology.
In the past, researchers have known that blood cells can make connections between blood vessels, but few had found how to make them do it in a way that didn’t damage the blood vessels.
To find out, Dr. Steven E. Drazen, an associate professor of biochemistry at UC Berkeley, and colleagues used a process called electroporation to create a chemical bond between a molecule of blood cells called an endothelial cell (EC) and a molecule called a matrix protein (M).
The M protein, which is found in many other blood cells, is what connects blood vessels to their surrounding tissues.
To do this, the team coated an electrode in the EC to trap it between two layers of a porous membrane called the myocardium.
The EC was then connected to a machine that converts electrical current to a chemical signal called lactate.
The result: the EC and M can now be used to create chemical bonds that can help connect blood vessels with cells, such as blood vessels and neurons in the heart.
The researchers also used this technique to make the molecule oxygenated by adding the M protein to a solution that can be injected into the heart to create an oxygen-containing scaffold for the cells to attach to.
“When we apply this new technique, we can make an EC that will also make a molecule that will help create a scaffold that will attach to a specific type of blood vessel,” said Dr. David Kowalski, a professor of bioengineering and materials science and engineering at UC San Diego who was not involved in the research.
“That’s very exciting.
This is the first time that we have shown that we can actually create a compound that helps attach to specific types of vessels in this way, and we can do it safely and safely with a synthetic scaffold.”
This technique was developed by researchers from the UC Berkeley Lab’s Center for Bioengineering.
Dr. Daniel P. Dolan, an assistant professor of biological engineering at Berkeley, also was not directly involved in this research.
He and his team are studying how this molecule can be used in a future medical system.
“We want to develop the ability to create molecules that will actually help with blood vessel formation,” Dr. Drolan said.
“And we want to create these molecules in an environment that’s safe for humans to use and safe for animals to use, which will be important in future medical therapies.”
To test this idea, the researchers coated the EC with a substance called tetrahydrofolate reductase (THF-R) which is a precursor to a molecule found in blood cells that is known to be a marker for disease risk.
In addition to providing the M proteins to attach, the tetrahysulfate of the THF-Rs also allowed the researchers to make a specific bond between the EC, the M, and the matrix proteins.
The scientists also tested the ability of the molecule to attach and bind to specific cells in rats and mice.
The results showed that it could bind to cells that contain a specific protein called the mitotic protein, a component of the heart that helps to stabilize the cell’s cells.
And when it attached to a bone marrow cell in the mice, it created an oxygenated scaffold.
“It has been known for decades that oxygenated ECs are a good scaffold,” Drs.
Dahan and Dolan said.
The findings are also encouraging because it could eventually be used for other applications.
“This could eventually replace other scaffolds that we use in medicine,” Dr Dolan explained.
“You could imagine this being used in treating people with heart diseases or for repairing broken bones.”
The team’s next step is to study the molecules that it has created and test them in more animals.
The next step will be to look at ways to incorporate these molecules into other medical applications, including in a drug that will make ECs and M more stable.