Proarrhythmic risk of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte transplantation in infarcted myocardium

Heart Rhythm. 2010 Dec;7(12):1852-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Background: Cellular replacement strategies using embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and their cardiac derivatives are emerging as novel experimental therapeutic paradigms for the treatment of post-myocardial infarction (MI) left ventricular (LV) dysfunction; however, their potential proarrhythmic risk remains unclear.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the functional effect and proarrhythmic risk of ESC transplantation in a mouse model of MI.

Methods: We compared the functional effects and proarrhythmic risk of direct intramyocardial transplantation of 3 × 10(5) undifferentiated mouse ESCs (MI+ESC group, n = 33) and mouse ESC-derived cardiomyocytes (MI+ESC-CM group, n = 40) versus culture medium (MI group, n = 33) at the infarct border zone in a mouse model of acute MI. LV performance was assessed with serial cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1 and 3 week(s) post-MI, and invasive LV pressure measurement was assessed (dP/dt) at 4 weeks before sacrifice for histological examination. Furthermore, electrophysiological study was also performed in another set of animals in each group (n = 24) to assess for proarrhythmias after transplantation.

Results: In vitro cellular electrophysiological study demonstrated that ESC-CMs exhibit arrhythmogenesis including automaticity, lengthened action potential duration, and depolarized resting membrane potential. At 4 weeks, the MI+ESC-CM group (21/40, 53%) had a higher mortality rate compared with those in the MI group (10/33, 30%, P = .08) and in the MI+ESC group (7/33, 21%, P = .012). Electrophysiological study showed a significantly higher incidence of inducible ventricular tachyarrhythmias in the MI+ESC-CM group (13/24, 54%) compared with in the MI group (6/24, 21%, P = .039) and in the MI+ESC group (5/24, 21%, P = .017). Cardiac MRI showed similar improvement in LV ejection fraction in the MI+ESC and MI+ESC-CM groups compared with in the MI group at 1 week (27.5% ± 3.8%; 30.3% ± 5.2% vs. 12.4% ± 1.4%; P < .05) and 3 weeks (29.8% ± 3.9%; 27.0% ± 4.8% vs. 10.6% ± 2.8%; P < .05) post-MI, respectively. Furthermore, invasive hemodynamic assessment at 4 weeks showed significant similar improvement in LV +dP/dt in the MI+ESC (2,644 ± 391 mmHg/s, P < .05) and MI+ESC-CM groups (2,539 ± 389 mmHg/s; P < .05) compared with in the MI group (2,042 ± 406 mmHg/s).

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that transplantation of undifferentiated ESCs and ESC-CMs provides similar improvement in cardiac function post-MI. However, transplantation of ESC-CMs is associated with a significantly higher prevalence of inducible ventricular tachyarrhythmias and early mortality than transplantations with ESCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / surgery*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / transplantation*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / surgery
  • Ventricular Pressure


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins