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Stem Cells Transl Med. 2012 Mar;1(3):248-60. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2011-0028. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Embryonic stem cell-based cardiopatches improve cardiac function in infarcted rats.

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Department of Radiology, Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Pluripotent stem cell-seeded cardiopatches hold promise for in situ regeneration of infarcted hearts. Here, we describe a novel cardiopatch based on bone morphogenetic protein 2-primed cardiac-committed mouse embryonic stem cells, embedded into biodegradable fibrin matrices and engrafted onto infarcted rat hearts. For in vivo tracking of the engrafted cardiac-committed cells, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles were magnetofected into the cells, thus enabling detection and functional evaluation by high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Six weeks after transplantation into infarcted rat hearts, both local (p < .04) and global (p < .015) heart function, as well as the left ventricular dilation (p < .0011), were significantly improved (p < .001) as compared with hearts receiving cardiopatches loaded with iron nanoparticles alone. Histological analysis revealed that the fibrin scaffolds had degraded over time and clusters of myocyte enhancer factor 2-positive cardiac-committed cells had colonized most of the infarcted myocardium, including the fibrotic area. De novo CD31-positive blood vessels were formed in the vicinity of the transplanted cardiopatch. Altogether, our data provide evidence that stem cell-based cardiopatches represent a promising therapeutic strategy to achieve efficient cell implantation and improved global and regional cardiac function after myocardial infarction.

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