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Open Access Intramyocardial Injections of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Following Acute Myocardial Infarction Modulate Scar Formation and Improve Left Ventricular Function

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Cell therapy is a promising treatment modality to improve heart function in acute myocardial infarction. However, the mechanisms of action and the most suitable cell type have not been finally determined. We performed a study to compare the effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harvested from different tissues on LV function and explore their effects on tissue structure by morphometry and histological staining for species and lineage relationship. MSCs from skeletal muscle (SM-MSCs) and adipose tissue (ADSCs) were injected in the myocardium of nude rats 1 week after myocardial infarction. After 4 weeks of observation, LVEF was significantly improved in the SM-MSCs group (39.1%) and in the ADSC group (39.6%), compared to the placebo group (31.0%, p < 0.001 for difference in change between groups). Infarct size was smaller after cell therapy (16.3% for SM-MSCs, 15.8% for ADSCs vs. 26.0% for placebo, p < 0.001), and the amount of highly vascularized granulation tissue in the border zone was significantly increased in both groups receiving MSCs (18.3% for SM-MSCs, 22.6% for ADSCs vs. 13.1% for placebo, p = 0.001). By in situ hybridization, moderate engraftment of transplanted cells was found, but no transdifferentiation to cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, or smooth muscle cells was observed. We conclude that MSC injections lead to improved LVEF after AMI in rats predominantly by reduction of infarct size. After 4 weeks, we observed modulation of scar formation with significant increase in granulation tissue. Transdifferentiation of MSCs to cardiomyocytes or vascular cells did not contribute significantly in this process. MSCs from skeletal muscle and adipose tissue had similar effects.

Keywords: Animal model; Cell therapy; Echocardiography; Immunofluorescence; In situ hybridization; Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-08-01

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  • 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.
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