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Int J Cardiol. 2013 Oct 3;168(3):2014-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.01.168. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

The contribution of stem cell therapy to skeletal muscle remodeling in heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.



The aim of our study was to investigate whether stem cell (SC) therapy with human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFS, fetal stem cells) and rat adipose tissue stromal vascular fraction cells-GFP positive cells (rSVC-GFP) was able to produce favorable effects on skeletal muscle (SM) remodeling in a well-established rat model of right heart failure (RHF).


RHF was induced by monocrotaline (MCT) in Sprague-Dawley rats. Three weeks later, four millions of hAFS or rSVC-GFP cells were injected via tail vein. SM remodeling was assessed by Soleus muscle fiber cross sectional area (CSA), myocyte apoptosis, myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition, satellite cells pattern, and SC immunohistochemistry.


hAFS and rSVC-GFP injection produced significant SC homing in Soleus (0.68 ± 1.0 and 0.67 ± 0.75% respectively), with a 50% differentiation toward smooth muscle and endothelial cells. Pro-inflammatory cytokines were down regulated to levels similar to those of controls. SC-treated (SCT) rats showed increased CSA (p<0.004 vs MCT) similarly to controls with a reshift toward the slow MHC1 isoform. Apoptosis was significantly decreased (11.12.± 8.8 cells/mm(3) hAFS and 13.1+7.6 rSVC-GFP) (p<0.001 vs MCT) and similar to controls (5.38 ± 3.0 cells/mm(3)). RHF rats showed a dramatic reduction of satellite cells(MCT 0.2 ± 0.06% Pax7 native vs controls 2.60 ± 2.46%, p<0.001), while SCT induced a repopulation of both native and SC derived satellite cells (p<0.005).


SC treatment led to SM remodeling with satellite cell repopulation, decreased atrophy and apoptosis. Modulation of the cytokine milieu might play a crucial pathophysiological role with a possible scenario for autologous transplantation of SC in pts with CHF myopathy.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cytokines; Heart failure; Monocrotaline; Satellite cells; Skeletal muscle; Stem cells

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