SPINACH IS NOT JUST GOOD TO EAT, IT MIGHT SAVE YOUR HEARTDate: 2018-05-21
Spinach may be good for your heart, but scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute area actually trying to turn spinach leaves into heart tissue.
By using a process that strips the cells from plants, researchers turned the leafy greens into a clear cellulose structure that happened to have a similar structure to human blood vessels.
The researchers believe that once they attach the plant structure to a blood source, the body might be able to use that to create new tissues around it, repairing the damaged area from injury or diseases. This green solution may solve the major problem now limiting the regeneration of large section of human tissues, bone, even whole organs to treat disease or traumatic injuries.
The scientists said they were inspired by spinach’s naturally occurring vein system. While vastly different in function than human tissue, the vegetable veins have a pattern similar to vascular veins in the human heart.
One of the defining traits of a leaf is the branching network of thin veins that delivers water and nutrients to its cells. Now, scientists have used plant veins to replicate the way blood moves through human tissue. The work involves modifying a spinach leaf in the lab to remove its plant cells, which leaves behind a frame made of cellulose.
The team then bathed the remaining plant frame in live human cells, so that the human tissue grew on the spinach scaffolding and surrounded the tiny veins. Once they had transformed the spinach leaf into a sort of mini heart, the team sent fluids and microbeads through its veins to show that blood cells can flow through this system.
Their experiment may solve a serious limitation facing researchers attempting to grow human organs in laboratories: making functioning blood vessels.
Video via Tech Insider