Adipose-derived cells improve left ventricular diastolic function and increase microvascular perfusion in advanced age

PLoS One. 2018 Aug 24;13(8):e0202934. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202934. eCollection 2018.


An early manifestation of coronary artery disease in advanced age is the development of microvascular dysfunction leading to deficits in diastolic function. Our lab has previously shown that epicardial treatment with adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF) preserves microvascular function following coronary ischemia in a young rodent model. Follow-up studies showed intravenous (i.v.) delivery of SVF allows the cells to migrate to the walls of small vessels and reset vasomotor tone. Therefore we tested the hypothesis that the i.v. cell injection of SVF would reverse the coronary microvascular dysfunction associated with aging in a rodent model. Fischer 344 rats were divided into 4 groups: young control (YC), old control (OC), old + rat aortic endothelial cells (O+EC) and old + GFP+ SVF cells (O+SVF). After four weeks, cardiac function and coronary flow reserve (CFR) were measured via echocardiography, and hearts were explanted either for histology or isolation of coronary arterioles for vessel reactivity studies. In a subgroup of animals, microspheres were injected during resting and dobutamine-stimulated conditions to measure coronary blood flow. GFP+ SVF cells engrafted and persisted in the myocardium and coronary vasculature four weeks following i.v. injection. Echocardiography showed age-related diastolic dysfunction without accompanying systolic dysfunction; diastolic function was improved in old rats after SVF treatment. Ultrasound and microsphere data both showed increased stimulated coronary blood flow in O+SVF rats compared to OC and O+EC, while isolated vessel reactivity was mostly unchanged. I.v.-injected SVF cells were capable of incorporating into the vasculature of the aging heart and are shown in this study to improve CFR and diastolic function in a model of advanced age. Importantly, SVF injection did not lead to arrhythmias or increased mortality in aged rats. SVF cells provide an autologous cell therapy option for treatment of microvascular and cardiac dysfunction in aged populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Arterioles / drug effects
  • Arterioles / physiology*
  • Coronary Circulation* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Stromal Cells / cytology*
  • Ventricular Function, Left* / drug effects


  • Nitroprusside
  • Acetylcholine