Scientists turn leaf of spinach into human tissue


It is now possible to use spinach as a framework, scientists have been able to build a small version of a heart that could one day aid the regeneration of tissues. According to the National Geographic Channel, a new way of using spinach to build human heart muscle has been found. This innovation may help solve the great problem of repairing damaged organs.

This study was published this month in the journal Biomaterials, thus offering a new proposal on the vascular system and its growth. The restructuring of human tissue has been a major challenge in the world of science. Even though scientists have created human tissue through 3D impressions, the reality is that it has been very complicated to create the tiny, delicate blood vessels that are absolutely vital to the health of heart tissue.

“One of the major factors limiting tissue engineering is the lack of a vascular network”, said one of the authors of this study, Joshua Gershlak, a graduate student at the Polytechnic Institute of Worcesterm, Massachusetts. “Without this vascular network, a lot of tissue ends up dying”, he adds.

The question is: how does a leaf of spinach make a small version of a heart, including its blood vessels? The answer is simple, one of the characteristics of the leaves are precisely their fine and delicate branches, which serve to provide water and nutrients. These same branches have now served to replicate the way blood moves in human tissue itself, just as in blood vessels.

Already in the laboratory, the leaves lose their plant cells, consequently, their cellulose. After removing the plant cells, the team placed the plant in a process of cooking human tissue, which grew in this spinach frame and surrounded its branches. Next, the spinach leaf was already a kind of heart, lacking only the blood. And that’s when the team released fluids through the branches, to see if the blood cells could flow in this system.

The ultimate goal of the team was to be able to replace damaged human tissue (such as heart attacks) through this structure. Thus, the ramifications of spinach would be able to supply oxygen to the damaged tissue, allowing for its restructuring.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but so far this is a very promising development”, said study author Glenn Gaudette, according to the National Geographic Channel.

“Adapting the plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a number of problems”, he added.

The team notes that the idea that the same method can be used in different types of plants and can repair different types of tissue of the human body.