Abstract 2673: Myoblast Transplantation Improves Cardiac Function Whether the Cells are Implanted Early or Late After Coronary Ligation
Background: The inability of skeletal myoblasts to transdifferentiate into cardiomyocytes supports the hypothesis that their beneficial effects on cardiac function after a myocardial infarction (MI) are mediated by paracrine effects. In order to explore the role of the timing of cell therapy on the resultant angiogenesis and matrix remodeling, we compared the effects of myoblast transplantation early or late after MI.
Methods: MI was generated in Lewis rats by coronary artery ligation. Skeletal myoblasts (5X106) or control media were injected into the scar and border zone either 5 days (early; n=33) or 30 days (late; n=29) after ligation. Function was assessed by echocardiography before transplantation (Tx), and 14 and 30 days thereafter. Invasive hemodynamics were measured with a Millar catheter at 30 days after Tx, following which explanted hearts were processed to assess LV volumes (computerized planimetry), fibrillar collagen (confocal microscopy), and myoblast engraftment, angiogenesis and extra-cellular matrix characteristics (immunohistochemistry).
Results: Load-independent indices of left ventricular (LV) function (Emax, preload recruitable stroke work) were significantly increased in myoblast recipients compared with controls regardless of whether cells were implanted early (p=0.003, p=0.03, respectively) or late (p=0.003, p=0.0007, respectively) after MI. Changes in fractional shortening (by echocardiography) followed a similar pattern. These changes were associated with a significant reduction in LV volume (p=0.04, p=0.01 for early and late Tx groups vs. controls, respectively), and an increase in angiogenesis (p=0.02) whether the myoblasts were injected early or late after MI. The length and width of collagen fibers both in the scar and remote myocardium were also significantly increased (p<0.001) regardless of the timing of myoblast injection.
Conclusions: The data suggest that myoblast transplantation improved cardiac function whether cells were injected early or late after MI. In each case, functional recovery was associated with enhanced angiogenesis, favourable effects on extracellular matrix remodeling, and improved LV geometry, supporting the paracrine hypothesis for myoblast transplantation.