Physiological coupling of donor and host cardiomyocytes after cellular transplantation

Circ Res. 2003 Jun 13;92(11):1217-24. doi: 10.1161/01.RES.0000075089.39335.8C. Epub 2003 May 1.


Cellular transplantation has emerged as a potential approach to treat diseased hearts. Although cell transplantation can affect global heart function, it is not known if this results directly via functional integration of donor myocytes or indirectly via enhanced revascularization and/or altered postinjury remodeling. To determine the degree to which donor cardiomyocytes are able to functionally integrate with the host myocardium, fetal transgenic cardiomyocytes expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein were transplanted into the hearts of nontransgenic adult mice. Two-photon molecular excitation laser scanning microscopy was then used to simultaneously image cellular calcium transients in donor and host cells within the intact recipient hearts. Calcium transients in the donor cardiomyocytes were synchronous with and had kinetics indistinguishable from those of neighboring host cardiomyocytes. These results strongly suggest that donor cardiomyocytes functionally couple with host cardiomyocytes and support the notion that transplanted cardiomyocytes can form a functional syncytium with the host myocardium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Communication*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Heart Atria / cytology
  • Kinetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / transplantation*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / genetics


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • Calcium