Reparative macrophage transplantation for myocardial repair: a refinement of bone marrow mononuclear cell-based therapy

Basic Res Cardiol. 2019 Aug 1;114(5):34. doi: 10.1007/s00395-019-0742-1.


Reparative macrophages play an important role in cardiac repair post-myocardial infarction (MI). Bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM-MNCs) have been investigated as a donor for cell therapy but with limited clinical success. These cells, however, may be utilized as a source for reparative macrophages. This translational study aimed to establish a robust in vitro protocol to produce functional reparative macrophages from BM-MNCs and to establish pre-clinical evidence of the efficacy of reparative macrophage transplantation for the treatment of MI. Mouse BM-MNCs were treated with M-CSF plus IL-4, IL-10, TGF-β1 or combinations of these in vitro. The concomitant administration of M-CSF and IL-4 produced the highest rate and largest number of CD11b+F4/80+CD206+ reparative macrophages. Expression and secretion of tissue repair-related factors including IGF-1, TGF-β1, VEGF and IL1-ra were remarkably enhanced in reparative macrophages compared to BM-MNCs. These cells were transplanted in a mouse MI model, resulting in evident improvement in cardiac function recovery, compared to BM-MNC transplantation. Histological studies showed that reparative macrophage transplantation enhanced myocardial tissue repair including augmented microvascular formation, reduced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and attenuated interstitial fibrosis. Moreover, survival of reparative macrophages in the heart post-transplantation was increased compared to BM-MNCs. Reparative macrophage transplantation also increased host-derived reparative macrophages in part through TGF-β secretion. In conclusion, concomitant M-CSF + IL-4 treatment effectively produced reparative macrophages from BM-MNCs in vitro. Transplantation of produced reparative macrophage achieved a superior therapeutic efficacy, compared to BM-MNC transplantation, through the enhanced quantity and quality of donor cell engraftment. Further development of this advanced cell-based therapy is warranted.

Keywords: Cell therapy; Inflammation; Macrophages; Myocardial infarction; Myocardial repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Macrophages / transplantation*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical