The vascular cells can promote vascular repair and regeneration and increase resistance to oxygen-causing injury.
Chinese scientists produced the world’s first genetically-engineered human blood vessel cells, providing a promising option for therapeutic use.
The study published in Cell Stem Cell showed that human vascular cell function can be enhanced by editing a single longevity-related gene.
Scientists from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Peking University and the Institute of Zoology of CAS targeted a gene called FOXO3, an important regulator to delay cellular ageing, resist stresses and enhance cardiovascular balance.
Compared with those of wildtype cells, the genetically-enhanced vascular cells could efficiently promote vascular repair and regeneration, increasing resistance to oxygen-causing injury, according to the study.
The technique can also resist the cells’ transformation into tumours. The risk of tumour transformation used to be a major concern for the application of the gene-editing technology.
The researchers tested it in a mouse model with blood-shortage or ischemic injury and found that those cells promoted vascular regeneration and resisted tumour transformation both in vitro and in vivo.
They expected to use gene-editing strategies in the future to produce high-quality, safe human vascular cell grafts in a large-scale and standardised manner. [APBN]