Objective: Improvements in ventricular function after cellular cardiomyoplasty appear to be limited by the poor survival of the cellular implants. Angiogenic pretreatment of infarcted myocardium may improve implanted cell survival and consequently myocardial function.
Methods: Fischer 344 rats underwent coronary artery ligation and injection of an adenovirus encoding vascular endothelial growth factor 121 or of saline solution at increasing intervals after ligation. Myocardial perfusion and mass preservation were assessed. On the basis of these data, four groups of animals underwent coronary ligation and adenovirus with or without syngeneic skeletal myoblast administration: (1) adenovirus at ligation and myoblasts 3 weeks later (n = 7), (2) saline solution at ligation and myoblasts 3 weeks later (n = 8), (3) saline solution at ligation and 3 weeks later (n = 8), and (4) saline solution at ligation and adenovirus with myoblasts 3 weeks later (n = 5). Left ventricular ejection fraction was analyzed by echocardiography before coronary ligation and 3 and 5 weeks later, after which cell survival was assessed in harvested tissues.
Results: Myocardial infarct perfusion was at least 50% greater in animals treated with adenoviral vector than with saline solution immediately after ligation (P < .02). In comparison, delayed adenovirus administration did not significantly diminish infarct perfusion but resulted in decreased myocardial preservation (P < .05). Accordingly, adenovirus administration nearly tripled implanted myoblast survival relative to saline solution-treated animals (P = .004). Left ventricular ejection fraction was improved, however, only after cell implantation with adenovirus pretreatment (P = .027).
Conclusion: Angiogenic strategies can help to preserve myocardium jeopardized by acute coronary occlusions. Angiogenic pretreatment enhances the efficacy of cellular cardiomyoplasty.