A study published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (21:8), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/, has found that when mesenchymal cells derived from skeletal muscle (SM-MSCs) or adipose tissue (ADSCs) were injected into the heart muscle (myocardium) of separate groups of laboratory rats that had suffered a myocardial infarction, rats in both groups experienced significantly improved left ventricle function and smaller infarct size after cell therapy.
The study, carried out by researchers at Oslo University Hospital and the Norwegian Center for Stem cell Research, Oslo University, sought to determine if MSCs from different organs would result in different functional outcomes.
"Despite advances in revascularization and medical therapy, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and heart failure are still important causes of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries," said study co-author Dr. Jan E. Brinchmann of the Norwegian center for Stem Cell Research at Oslo University Hospital, Oslo. "AMI leads to a permanent loss of contractile elements in the heart and the formation of fibrous scarring. Regeneration of contractile myocardium has been a target of cell therapy for more than a decade."
According to Dr. Brinchmann, MSCs tolerate hypoxia, secrete angiogenic factors and have been shown to improve vascularization; thus, they have properties suggesting that they may beneficially impact AMI, chronic heart failure and angina pectoris after cell transplantation. Following injection into the "border zone" and infarct area of immunodeficient rats one week after induced myocardial infarction, the researchers used echocardiography to measure myocardial function and other analyses to measure the size of scaring, density of blood vessels in the scar, and the health of myocardial tissues.