A spinach leaf has been transformed into beating human heart tissue. If that’s not the most mental thing you’ve read all day, then clearly you’ve had one hectic 24hrs.
Scientists at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts have built a mini version of a working heart by using a spinach leaf as scaffolding. Although 3D technology has come a long way, and has helped a lot through creating large scale human tissue, scientists have been unable to find a way to grow the small and delicate blood vessels that are key to tissue health.
The video below explains just how the scientists are tackling this roadblock using spinach leaves.
See it’s all in due the naturally occurring vascular network in the leaves. Through the spinach leaf and the veins that it has, scientists were able to replicate the way that blood moves through human tissue. They did this by removing all the plant cells, leaving (*wink*) behind spinach leaf-shaped cellulose frame. The authors of the study write,
“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.”
Through this discovery, it’s become slightly easier to replicate the complicated and delicate vessel structures that we have within our body. FYI our vascular systems exist in our body to move blood around. It’s vital to preventing tissue death and making sure you don’t end up looking like a zombie. And now we can grow those cells on spinach leaves.
The full study was published in this month’s Journal of Biomaterials.