We previously reported that intracoronary implantation of bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMC) into ischemic hearts improved cardiac function after myocardial infarction. However, the mechanisms have not been elucidated. The present study investigates whether apelin, a newly described
inotropic peptide with important cardiovascular regulatory properties, contributes to the functional improvement in patients with severe heart failure after cell transplantation. Forty consecutive patients with severe heart failure secondary to myocardial infarction were assigned to the BMMC
therapy group or the standard medication group according to each patient's decision on a signed consent document. In 20 patients intracoronary cell infusion was performed, and another 20 patients were matched to receive standard medication as therapeutic controls. An additional 20 healthy
subjects were designated as normal controls. Clinical manifestations, echocardiograms, and biochemical assays were recorded. Plasma apelin and brain natriuretic protein (BNP) levels were determined by enzyme immunoassay. Baseline levels of plasma apelin were significantly lower in all heart
failure patients compared to normal subjects. In patients who underwent cell transplantation, apelin increased significantly from 3 to 21 days after operation, followed by significant improvement in cardiac function. In parallel, BNP varied inversely with the increase of apelin. In patients
receiving standard medical treatment, apelin remained at a lower level. Our findings indicated that increased apelin levels following cell therapy may act as a paracrine mediator produced from BMMCs and play an important role in the treatment of heart failure through autocrine and paracrine
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.