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J Cardiothorac Surg. 2013 Mar 1;8:33. doi: 10.1186/1749-8090-8-33.

Application of peripheral-blood-derived endothelial progenitor cell for treating ischemia-reperfusion injury and infarction: a preclinical study in rat models.

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Department of Cardiology, Jiangxi Provincial People's Hospital, No, 92 Aiguo Road, Donghu District, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330006, PR China.



Our aim was to explore the therapeutic effects of peripheral blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (PB-EPC) in cardiac ischemia-reperfusion infarction models in rats and in in vitro culture systems.


Rat models of ischemia reperfusion and myocardial infarction were developed using male, Sprague-Dawley rats. Cardiomyocyte and endothelial cell cultures were also established. Therapeutic effects of PB-EPCs were examined in vivo and in vitro in both models. Rats underwent either cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (n = 40) or infarction (n = 56) surgeries and were transplanted with genetically modified EPCs. Treatment efficacy in the ischemia-reperfusion group was measured by infarct size, myocardial contraction velocity, and myeloperoxidase activity after transplantation. Cardiomyocyte survival and endothelial cell apoptosis were investigated in vitro. Vascular growth-associated protein expression and cardiac function were evaluated in the myocardial infarction group by western blot and echocardiography, respectively.


Infarct size and myeloperoxidase activity were significantly decreased in the ischemia-reperfusion group, whereas myocardial contractility was significantly increased in the EPC and Tβ4 groups compared with that in the control group. In contrast, no differences were found between EPC + shRNA Tβ4 and control groups. Rates of cardiomyocyte survival and endothelial cell apoptosis were significantly higher and lower, respectively, in the EPC and Tβ4 groups than in the control group, whereas no differences were found between the EPC + shRNA Tβ4 and control group. Four weeks after myocardial infarction, cardiac function was significantly better in the EPC group than in the control group. Expressions of PDGF, VEGF, and Flk-1 were significantly higher in EPC group than in control group.


Study findings suggest that PB-EPCs are able to protect cardiomyocytes from ischemia-reperfusion or infarction-induced damage via a Tβ4-mediated mechanism. EPCs may also provide protection through increased expression of proteins involved in mediating vascular growth. Autologous peripheral-blood-derived EPCs are readily available for efficient therapeutic use without the concerns of graft rejection.

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