An injectable hydrogel was applied to regenerate a myocardial infarction and functional recovery of the heart. A myocardial infarction was induced in rat by circumflex artery ligation. A hyaluronic acid-based hydrogel was injected into the epicardium of the infarcted area. Then, cardiac functions and regeneration of the myocardium in sham-operated (SHAM), myocardial infarction (MI), and gel-injected group (GEL) (n = 6) were evaluated 4 weeks after the injection. Measurements of the thickness of the wall showed that the thickness in the GEL group increased by up to 200% compared with that in the MI group (p < 0.001). The infarcted area of the left ventricular in the GEL group decreased by 53% compared with the MI group (p < 0.001). The number of arterioles and capillaries in the border zone of the GEL group increased by 152% and 148%, whereas the apoptotic index decreased by 42% (p < 0.05). Measurement of the heart functions, such as ejection fraction, arterial elastance (Ea), dP/dt max, and dP/dt min, indicated that the injection of a hydrogel significantly facilitated the functional recovery compared with the MI group. Because of its simplicity, easy applicability, and a great regenerating potential, this injectable hydrogel promises as a treatment for myocardial infarction.
(c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.