Wheatgrass mobilises cardiac stem cells following myocardial infarction

Role of some natural products in mobilization of stem cells in rats with acute myocardial infarction. 

Abdelmonem M (2016): Thesis. Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.

Wheat extracts can mobilise stem cells to repair tissue damage. In his thesis, Abdelmonem further elaborated the processes involved in stem cell stimulation by plant extracts. To quote “Although current pharmacological and surgical interventions have led to improved survival of patients, they failed to regenerate dead myocardium (heart muscle) and/or prevent deterioration of cardiac function… In the last decade, stem cell (SC) therapy has emerged as a potential new strategy for incurable and life threatening myocardial infarction (heart attack). Tissue-specific SCs circulate in peripheral blood at low number and can be mobilized by ischemia (blood supply deficiency)-related inflammatory and messengers (cytokines) involved in blood formation. The levels of these cytokines were found to be significantly higher in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and were correlated positively with the number of circulating SCs (type CD34+). The efficacy of SC therapy in regenerative medicine depends on sufficient recruitment of available cells (either cells administered from external sources or activating those within the body) to the damaged target tissue.

Although SC transplantation is the most common means to replenish impoverished SC pools, their applications are restricted by the limited availability of SC sources and current regulations. In this regard, pharmacological activation of SCs already present in a patient’s body from either the blood or a tissue-specific niche and their homing into the injury sites, is a promising approach for therapeutic success. In this context, using medicinal plant products for activation of stem cells represents an emerging field of regenerative medicine in health and disease. However the effect of these natural products on activation of SCs cannot be separated from their already known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory activities, as all of these activities are speculated to synergistically drive tissue repair and regeneration.