Human umbilical cord perivascular cells exhibit enhanced cardiomyocyte reprogramming and cardiac function after experimental acute myocardial infarction

Cell Transplant. 2013;22(9):1651-66. doi: 10.3727/096368912X657675. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


We were interested in evaluating the ability of the mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) population, human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVCs), to undergo cardiomyocyte reprogramming in an established coculture system with rat embryonic cardiomyocytes. Results were compared with human bone marrow-derived (BM) MSCs. The transcription factors GATA4 and Mef 2c were expressed in HUCPVCs but not BM-MSCs at baseline and, at 7 days, increased 7.6- and 3.5-fold, respectively, compared with BM-MSCs. Although cardiac-specific gene expression increased in both cell types in coculture, upregulation was more significant in HUCPVCs, consistent with Mef 2c-GATA4 synergism. Using a lentivector with eGFP transcribed from the α-myosin heavy chain (α-MHC) promoter, we found that cardiac gene expression was greater in HUCPVCs than BM-MSCs after 14 days coculture (52±17% vs. 29±6%, respectively). A higher frequency of HUCPVCs expressed α-MHC protein compared with BM-MSCs (11.6±0.9% vs. 5.3±0.3%); however, both cell types retained MSC-associated determinants. We also assessed the ability of the MSC types to mediate cardiac regeneration in a NOD/SCID γ mouse model of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Fourteen days after AMI, cardiac function was significantly better in cell-treated mice compared with control animals and HUCPVCs exhibited greater improvement. Although human cells persisted in the infarct area, the frequency of α-MHC expression was low. Our results indicate that HUCPVCs exhibit a greater degree of cardiomyocyte reprogramming but that differentiation for both cell types is partial. We conclude that HUCPVCs may be preferable to BM-MSCs in the cell therapy of AMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cellular Reprogramming / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics*
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*
  • Umbilical Cord / metabolism
  • Young Adult