Author(s): Atkins BZ, Lewis CW, Kraus WE, Hutcheson KA, Glower DD,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Adult heart lacks stem cells and cannot effectively regenerate. In contrast, skeletal muscle is constantly undergoing repair. We proposed to transplant immature skeletal myoblasts into injured myocardium. METHODS: Approximately 7x10(6) soleus skeletal myoblasts were expanded in vitro from adult New Zealand White rabbits (n = 23) whose posterior left ventricle was cryoinjured to create a transmural lesion. Autologous myoblasts (n = 18) or saline (n = 5) was transplanted into the central cryolesion at the time of injury (n = 6) or 1 week later (n = 12). Hearts were harvested 2 weeks after injection. RESULTS: Myoblast transfer did not incur further morbidity. After cryolesion, grossly, a 1.6-cm epicardial hemorrhagic lesion could be seen. Histologically, the transmural lesion contained inflammatory cells and active scarring but no viable cardiomyocytes. Electron microscopy demonstrated a predominance of collagen and fibroblasts. Nine hearts contained multinucleated cells within the cryolesion that covered approximately 75\% of the central cryolesion in 17\% of animals. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed their skeletal muscle origin. At the periphery of the lesion, isolated clusters of nonskeletal muscle cells could be visualized (n = 12) that resembled immature cardiocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Autologous skeletal myoblasts can regenerate viable striated tissue within damaged myocardium. Myoblast transfer warrants further investigation as a new method for improving myocardial performance within infarcted myocardium.
This article was published in Ann Thorac Surg
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy