Objectives: Cellular cardiomyoplasty with isolated skeletal myoblasts and bone marrow mononuclear cells is an encouraging therapeutic strategy for heart failure. We investigated the achievements accomplished with combined cell therapy of skeletal myoblast and bone marrow mononuclear cell transplantation to the ischemic canine myocardium.
Methods: Autologous skeletal myoblasts (1 x 10(8)) and autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells (3 x 10(6)) were injected directly into the damaged myocardium of canine hearts that had undergone 2 weeks of left anterior descending coronary artery ligation. Treatment groups were as follows: skeletal myoblasts plus bone marrow mononuclear cells (combined cell therapy, n = 4), myoblasts (n = 4), bone marrow mononuclear cells (n = 4), and medium only (n = 4). In similarly designed supporting experiments, angiogenic factor expression was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay after cell transplantation in rat hearts that had undergone left anterior descending coronary artery ligation.
Results: Four weeks after cell implantation, echocardiography demonstrated better cardiac performance with reduced left ventricular dilation and significantly improved ejection fraction in the combined cell therapy group compared with that seen in the other groups (pretreatment, 37.7% +/- 1.1%, vs combined cell therapy, 55.4% +/- 8.6%; myoblasts, 47.4% +/- 7.4%; bone marrow mononuclear cells, 44.4% +/- 6.7%; medium only [control], 34.4% +/- 5.4%; P < .05). A significantly high number of neovessels were observed in the group receiving combined cell therapy only (combined cell therapy, 45.5 +/- 12 x 10(2)/mm2; myoblasts, 26.5 +/- 8 x 10(2)/mm2; bone marrow mononuclear cells, 30.7 +/- 15 x 10(2)/mm2; medium only [control], 7.1 +/- 1 x 10(2)/mm2; P < .05). Immunostained sections expressed the skeletal specific marker myosin heavy chain, although they did not express the cardiac specific marker troponin T. Results of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed the highest expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (combined cell therapy, 2.9 +/- 0.7 ng/g tissue; myoblasts, 0.24 +/- 0.7 ng/g tissue; bone marrow mononuclear cells, 1.9 +/- 0.2 ng/g tissue; medium only [control], 0.19 +/- 0.004 ng/g tissue; P < .05) and hepatocyte growth factor in the combined cell therapy hearts.
Conclusions: Combined autologous cellular therapy induced both myogenesis and angiogenesis with enhancement of cardiac performance and reduction of cardiac remodeling, suggesting a capable strategy for treating severe ischemic cardiomyopathy clinically.