Xenotransplantation of Human Cardiomyocyte Progenitor Cells Does Not Improve Cardiac Function in a Porcine Model of Chronic Ischemic Heart Failure. Results from a Randomized, Blinded, Placebo Controlled Trial

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 17;10(12):e0143953. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143953. eCollection 2015.


Background: Recently cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (CMPCs) were successfully isolated from fetal and adult human hearts. Direct intramyocardial injection of human CMPCs (hCMPCs) in experimental mouse models of acute myocardial infarction significantly improved cardiac function compared to controls.

Aim: Here, our aim was to investigate whether xenotransplantation via intracoronary infusion of fetal hCMPCs in a pig model of chronic myocardial infarction is safe and efficacious, in view of translation purposes.

Methods & results: We performed a randomized, blinded, placebo controlled trial. Four weeks after ischemia/reperfusion injury by 90 minutes of percutaneous left anterior descending artery occlusion, pigs (n = 16, 68.5 ± 5.4 kg) received intracoronary infusion of 10 million fetal hCMPCs or placebo. All animals were immunosuppressed by cyclosporin (CsA). Four weeks after infusion, endpoint analysis by MRI displayed no difference in left ventricular ejection fraction, left ventricular end diastolic and left ventricular end systolic volumes between both groups. Serial pressure volume (PV-)loop and echocardiography showed no differences in functional parameters between groups at any timepoint. Infarct size at follow-up, measured by late gadolinium enhancement MRI showed no difference between groups. Intracoronary pressure and flow measurements showed no signs of coronary obstruction 30 minutes after cell infusion. No premature death occurred in cell treated animals.

Conclusion: Xenotransplantation via intracoronary infusion of hCMPCs is feasible and safe, but not associated with improved left ventricular performance and infarct size compared to placebo in a porcine model of chronic myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Placebos
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Heterologous*
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Placebos

Grant support

This research forms part of the Project P1.04 SMARTCARE of the research program of the BioMedical Materials Institute, co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The financial contribution of the Nederlandse Hartstichting is gratefully acknowledged. This project is co-funded by a grant from the Alexandre Suerman program for MD/PhD students of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. This work is also funded by the Netherlands CardioVascular Research Initiative (CVON): the Dutch Heart Foundation, Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Professor Leiner is recipient of a NOW Clinical Fellowship (90700432).