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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2004 Aug;31(8):1146-51. Epub 2004 Apr 3.

Transplantation of progenitor cells after reperfused acute myocardial infarction: evaluation of perfusion and myocardial viability with FDG-PET and thallium SPECT.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590, Frankfurt, Germany.


Clinical outcome after myocardial infarction depends on the extent of irreversibly damaged myocardium. Implantation of bone marrow-/circulating blood-derived progenitor cells has been shown to improve contractile cardiac function after myocardial infarction in both experimental and initial clinical studies. In the present study, first observations of the effect of local intracoronary progenitor cell infusion on the regeneration of infarcted cardiac tissue after acute myocardial infarction was evaluated by means of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) and 201Tl single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Twenty-six patients underwent intracoronary infusion of bone marrow-derived (BMCs) (15 patients) or circulating blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) (11 patients) 4+/-2 days after acute myocardial infarction. Based on a left ventricular segmentation model (17 segments), mean signal intensities as a parameter of viability and perfusion in the infarct zone and non-infarct areas were calculated quantitatively by PET and SPECT at baseline and at 4 months of follow-up. Transplantation of progenitor cells was associated with a significant increase in the mean signal intensity (MSI) in the infarct zone from 54.5% (25th and 75th percentiles: 47.7%, 60.0%) to 58.0% (52.7%, 66.7%) on PET (P=0.013) and from 58.0% (49.5%, 63.0%) to 61.5% (52.5%, 70.2%) on SPECT (P=0.005). Global left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) increased from 53.5% (42.6%, 60.0%) to 58.0% (53.0%, 65.8%) (P<0.001). In the five patients without an increase in MSI on PET, LVEF changed from 60.0% (50.0%, 64.0%) to 72.0% (64.0%, 75.5%) at follow-up. PET and SPECT did not show any significant changes in MSI in the non-infarct areas [from 73% (68.5%, 76.2%) to 73% (69.7%, 78.0%) for PET and from 72.0% (66.5%, 77.6%) to 73.0% (67.5%, 78.2%) for SPECT]. There were no significant differences in myocardial viability and perfusion between BMC and EPC infusion. These preliminary results show that coronary stenting and transplantation of progenitor cells result in a significant increase in myocardial viability and perfusion. Therapeutic effects can be reliably measured by PET and SPECT.

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