Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells that differentiate into a variety of lineages including myocytes and vascular endothelial cells. However, little information is available regarding the therapeutic potential of MSCs in patients with atrioventricular block (AVB). We
investigated whether local implantation of MSCs improves AV conduction in a rat model of complete AVB. Complete AVB was achieved by injection of ethanol into the AV nodal region of Lewis rats. Five days after ethanol injection, 2 × 106 of MSCs (MSC group) or vehicle (Control
group) were injected into the AV nodal region. Animals were monitored by electrocardiograms for 14 days, and physiological and histological examinations were performed. The 1:1 AV conduction was recovered in 5 of 15 rats (33%) in the MSC group during the follow-up period, whereas no improvement
was observed in the control group. MSC transplantation significantly decreased collagen deposition in the AV node, which was associated with a marked decrease in transforming growth factor-β1 expression. In vitro experiments demonstrated that MSCs secreted a large amount of antifibrotic
factors such as hepatocyte growth factor and interleukin-10, and MSC conditioned medium inhibited the growth of adult cardiac fibroblasts. In addition, local injection of MSC conditioned medium recovered AV conduction in 2 of 15 rats (13%). MSC transplantation improved AV conduction in a rat
model of complete AVB, at least in part through antifibrotic paracrine effects.
Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.