For the first time researchers have shown that stimulating cardiac muscle cells, derived from stem cells, with electrical impulses improves their development and function.

Providing these cells with the improved function could potentially help treat cardiovascular disease, one of the world’s major illnesses, as it may provide a way to regenerate heart muscle.

When stimulated ,these heart cells beat at a matching rate. The cells were not only able to maintain the beating rate they also transferred it to surrounding heart cells. The researchers believe if the results are confirmed in animal testing, they may be able to improve current therapies treating heart diseases with stem-cells.

Original research paper published in Nature Communications on January 19, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected author

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Mark Gagliardi, McEwen Centre for Regenerative, Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario