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Clin Transl Sci. 2012 Aug;5(4):321-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2012.00424.x. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

A mouse model for fetal maternal stem cell transfer during ischemic cardiac injury.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Cardiovascular Institute, New York, New York, USA.


Fetal cells enter the maternal circulation during pregnancies and can persist in blood and tissues for decades, creating a state of physiologic microchimerism. Microchimerism refers to acquisition of cells from another individual and can be due to bidirectional cell traffic between mother and fetus during pregnancy. Peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare cardiac disorder associated with high mortality rates has the highest recovery rate amongst all etiologies of heart failure although the reason is unknown. Collectively, these observations led us to hypothesize that fetal cells enter the maternal circulation and may be recruited to the sites of myocardial disease or injury. The ability to genetically modify mice makes them an ideal system for studying the phenomenon of microchimerism in cardiac disease. Described here is a mouse model for ischemic cardiac injury during pregnancy designed to study microchimerism. Wild-type virgin female mice mated with eGFP male mice underwent ligation of the left anterior descending artery to induce a myocardial infarction at gestation day 12. We demonstrate the selective homing of eGFP cells to the site of cardiac injury without such homing to noninjured tissues suggesting the presence of precise signals sensed by fetal cells enabling them to target diseased myocardium specifically.

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