Abstract 1504: Increased Expression of Stem Cell Factor and its Receptor Following LVAD: A Potential Novel Target for Therapeutic Interventions In Heart Failure
Introduction: Previous studies have demonstrated the involvement of mast cells (MCs) in cardiac remodeling during heart failure. LVADs cause an influx of MCs into the failing heart, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. We hypothesize that stem cell factor (SCF) induces migration of MCs to the heart. This study investigates the potential role of SCF and its receptor (C-Kit) in promoting the recruitment of stem cell derived MCs during heart failure and following LVAD support.
Methods: Myocardial samples were collected from 10 patients undergoing LVAD implantation (Pre-LVAD) paired with samples taken at the time of heart transplantation (Post-LVAD). Biopsies of 4 normal hearts served as controls. We assessed gene expression of SCF and C-Kit. Additionally, we stained for SCF, C-Kit and tryptase protein and utilized In-situ hybridization to determine the origin of SCF.
Results: Real-time PCR: SCF mRNA is significantly increased (P<0.01) following mechanical circulatory support as compared to paired heart failure tissue. C-Kit mRNA was significantly increased post-LVAD, as compared to normal tissues (p<0.05).
Immunohistochemistry: The C-Kit protein was only expressed on cardiac mast cells. In-Situ hybridization: SCF mRNA was found in endothelial cells, myocytes and interstitial cells. This was confirmed by antibody staining for the SCF protein.
Conclusions: LVADs cause an increase of SCF and C-Kit gene expression during unloading. SCF appears to be an important mechanism for the recruitment and maturation of MCs involved in cardiac remodeling, and we suggest that pharmacologic or biologic modification of SCF may provide a new therapeutic path for heart failure treatment.