Cardiosphere-derived cells improve function in the infarcted rat heart for at least 16 weeks--an MRI study.
Carr CA., Stuckey DJ., Tan JJ., Tan SC., Gomes RSM., Camelliti P., Messina E., Giacomello A., Ellison GM., Clarke K.
AIMS: Endogenous cardiac progenitor cells, expanded from explants via cardiosphere formation, present a promising cell source to prevent heart failure following myocardial infarction. Here we used cine-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track administered cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) and to measure changes in cardiac function over four months in the infarcted rat heart. METHODS AND RESULTS: CDCs, cultured from neonatal rat heart, comprised a heterogeneous population including cells expressing the mesenchymal markers CD90 and CD105, the stem cell marker c-kit and the pluripotency markers Sox2, Oct3/4 and Klf-4. CDCs (2 × 10(6)) expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP+) were labelled with fluorescent micron-sized particles of iron oxide (MPIO). Labelled cells were administered to the infarcted rat hearts (n = 7) by intramyocardial injection immediately following reperfusion, then by systemic infusion (4 × 10(6)) 2 days later. A control group (n = 7) was administered cell medium. MR hypointensities caused by the MPIOs were detected at all times and GFP+ cells containing MPIO particles were identified in tissue slices at 16 weeks. At two days after infarction, cardiac function was similar between groups. By 6 weeks, ejection fractions in control hearts had significantly decreased (47 ± 2%), but this was not evident in CDC-treated hearts (56 ± 3%). The significantly higher ejection fractions in the CDC-treated group were maintained for a further 10 weeks. In addition, CDC-treated rat hearts had significantly increased capillary density in the peri-infarct region and lower infarct sizes. MPIO-labelled cells also expressed cardiac troponin I, von Willebrand factor and smooth muscle actin, suggesting their differentiation along the cardiomyocyte lineage and the formation of new blood vessels. CONCLUSIONS: CDCs were retained in the infarcted rat heart for 16 weeks and improved cardiac function.