Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells Differentiate into an Endothelial Phenotype, Enhance Vascular Density, and Improve Heart Function in a Rat Cellular Cardiomyoplasty Model
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Background— Cellular cardiomyoplasty is a promising approach to improve postinfarcted cardiac function. The differentiation pathways of engrafted mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) and their effects on the left ventricular function in a rat myocardial infarct heart model were analyzed.
Methods and Results— A ligation model of left coronary artery of Lewis rats was used. MPCs were isolated by bone marrow cell adherence. Seven days after ligation, MPCs labeled with 4′,6-diamidino-2′-phenylindole were injected into the infarcted myocardium (n=8). Culture medium was injected in the infarcted myocardium of control animals (n=8). Thirty days after implantation, immunofluorescence studies revealed some engrafted cells expressing a smooth muscle phenotype (α SM actin+), as similarly observed in culture. Other engrafted cells lost their smooth muscle phenotype and acquired an endothelial phenotype (CD31+). Furthermore, vessel density was augmented in the MPC group in comparison with the control group. After 30 days, echocardiography showed an improvement on left ventricular performance in the MPCs compared with the control group.
Conclusions— In vivo administration of syngenic MPCs into a rat model of myocardial infarcted heart was safety demonstrated. Some engrafted cells appeared to differentiate into endothelial cells and loss their smooth muscle phenotype. MPC engraftment might to contribute to the improvement on the cardiac function in such a setting.