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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2005 Dec;24(12):2179-83. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Identification of male cardiomyocytes of extracardiac origin in the hearts of women with male progeny: male fetal cell microchimerism of the heart.

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  • 1Servei de Cardiologia, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain. abayesgenis@hsp.santpau.es

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fetal progenitor cells may cross the placenta during pregnancy, persist for decades in the maternal bloodstream, and find a microenvironment conducive to colonization in a variety of maternal solid organs. Whether extracardiac fetal progenitors are present in the heart of women with male issue is unknown.

METHODS:

The hearts from 2 non-pregnant women who had given birth to 2 and 3 male children, respectively, were studied. Myocardial specimens from 2 men and 2 women (without history of pregnancies) were used as controls. Real time polymerase chain reaction was performed to amplify the SRY gene located at the Y chromosome. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with probes specific for X and Y chromosomes was combined with alpha-actin immunohistochemistry to identify cardiac muscle cells. Histocompatibility studies were conducted in both patients and their male relatives.

RESULTS:

The SRY gene was amplified in the myocardium of both patients. FISH analysis showed clear evidence of male cells with the typical cardiomyocyte phenotype within the myocardium. X- and Y-chromosome bodies in the nuclei were found in 0.25% and 0.20% of cells, respectively. Increased human leukocyte antigen compatibility was observed between patients and their sons.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study identified male cardiomyocytes of extracardiac origin, presumably fetal, in the hearts of 2 women with male progeny. Fetal progenitor cells may colonize the heart and under appropriate microenvironmental stimuli, differentiate into cardiomyocytes.

PMID:
16364868
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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