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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Aug 13;399(1):42-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.07.031. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

Transplantation of marrow-derived cardiac stem cells carried in designer self-assembling peptide nanofibers improves cardiac function after myocardial infarction.

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Department of Anatomy and Histology and Embryology, Shanghai Medical School of Fudan University, China.


Progress in stem cell transplantation for the treatment of myocardial infarction is hampered by the poor retention and survival of the implanted cells. To enhance cell survival and differentiation and thereby improve the efficiency of stem cell therapy, we constructed a novel self-assembling peptide by attaching an RGDSP cell-adhesion motif to the self-assembling peptide RADA16. c-kit(pos)/Nkx2.5(low)/GATA4(low) marrow-derived cardiac stem cells (MCSCs), which have a specific potential to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, were isolated from rat bone marrow. The cytoprotective effects of RGDSP scaffolds were assessed by exposure of MCSCs to anoxia in vitro. The efficacy of transplanting MCSCs in RGDSP scaffolds was evaluated in a female rat MI model. The designer self-assembling peptide self-assembled into RGDSP nanofiber scaffolds under physiological conditions. RGDSP scaffolds were beneficial for the growth of MCSCs and protected them from apoptosis and necrosis caused by anoxia. In a rat MI model, cardiac function was improved and collagen deposition was markedly reduced in the group receiving MCSCs in RGDSP scaffolds compared with groups receiving MCSCs alone, RGDSP scaffolds alone or MCSCs in RADA16 scaffolds. There were more surviving MCSCs in the group receiving MCSCs in RGDSP scaffolds than in the groups receiving MCSCs alone or MCSCs in RADA16 scaffolds. Most of the Y chromosome-positive cells expressed cardiac troponin T and connexin43 (Cx-43). These results suggest that RGDSP scaffolds provide a suitable microenvironment for the survival and differentiation of MCSCs. RGDSP scaffolds enhanced the efficacy of MCSC transplantation to repair myocardium and improve cardiac function.

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