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J Tehran Heart Cent. 2017 Apr;12(2):65-71.

Effects of Endothelial and Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Improving Myocardial Function in a Sheep Animal Model.

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Tehran Heart Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute, Tehran, Iran.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Research Center, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Iran.
National Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Myocardial infarction is the main cause of death worldwide. Angiogenesis, a promising new therapy for the treatment of diffuse coronary artery disease, shows a poor response to conventional revascularization techniques. This study focused on improving myocardial function using endothelial cells (ECs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a sheep animal model. Methods: Acute myocardial infarction was induced in 18 sheep (12 treated cases and 6 controls). Autologous MSCs and ECs were injected in the infarcted area and the border zone. Two months after transplantation, echocardiography, electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry were performed. Results: Echocardiography in both MSC and EC groups revealed a significant improvement in the ejection fraction compared with the control group (p value < 0.05). Vascular density, estimated by antibodies against the von Willebrand factor and smooth muscle actin, increased in both study groups. The pattern of vascularity in the MSC and EC groups was diffused. The electron microscopic evaluation of the infracted areas revealed cardiomyocytes in variable stages of development in the border zone in both EC and MSC groups. Conclusion: Both ECs and MSCs were able to promote angiogenesis and improve cardiac function. Presumably, MSCs differentiate into ECs and cause angiogenesis as it occurs for ECs.


Endothelial cells; Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation; Myocardial infarction; Sheep


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