Jan 21, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

Spinach Leaf Transforms Into Beating Human Heart Muscle

Mar 28, 2017 01:49 AM EDT


Doctors have found out a way to use a spinach leaf and turn it into a beating and working human heart. This bio-inspired engineering will definitely help doctors and scientist fill in the lack of working tissue and organ for transplants and other medical procedure.

The scientists first get rid of the spinach leaf's plant cells using a detergent. Then, only cellulose is left so they injected it with human tissues and blood cells showing exactly how a human heart and its blood flow. Though the plant cells and animal cells are completely different their vascular system is somehow the same. The researchers took advantage of that and tried using the spinach leaf to work. Since plants have veins that transfer the nutrients and other minerals they need, the spinach leaf has used the same veins to transfer the mimicked human blood.

The study was published this month in the journal "Biomaterials". The researchers believed that it will be a great help in growing a vascular system. The vascular system has been one of the hardest parts of the human heart to copy and make engineered tissues, CNBC reported. With this new discovery, it does not have to rely in 3D printing all the time.

3-D printing has always had difficulty in making the blood vessels work in their lab-made human heart and its tissues. Because of that, the doctors and scientists cannot use it when they want to operate a patient and repair a damaged tissue or completely replace it with a new one. Lab-made tissues will not be useless now as this new vascular system is discovered, National Geographic stated.

"Without that vascular network, you get a lot of tissue death," said study co-author Joshua Gershlak, a graduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. "Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering, and wound healing," he explained.

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