Myocardial injury results in a loss of contractile tissue mass that, in the absence of efficient regeneration, is essentially irreversible. Transplantation of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes has beneficial but variable effects. We created human engineered heart tissue (hEHT) strips from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes and hiPSC-derived endothelial cells. The hEHTs were transplanted onto large defects (22% of the left ventricular wall, 35% decline in left ventricular function) of guinea pig hearts 7 days after cryoinjury, and the results were compared with those obtained with human endothelial cell patches (hEETs) or cell-free patches. Twenty-eight days after transplantation, the hearts repaired with hEHT strips exhibited, within the scar, human heart muscle grafts, which had remuscularized 12% of the infarct area. These grafts showed cardiomyocyte proliferation, vascularization, and evidence for electrical coupling to the intact heart tissue in a subset of engrafted hearts. hEHT strips improved left ventricular function by 31% compared to that before implantation, whereas the hEET or cell-free patches had no effect. Together, our study demonstrates that three-dimensional human heart muscle constructs can repair the injured heart.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.