Cardiac muscle patches containing four types of cardiac cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells improve recovery from cardiac injury in mice

Cardiovasc Res. 2023 May 2;119(4):1062-1076. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvad004.


Aims: We have shown that human cardiac muscle patches (hCMPs) containing three different types of cardiac cells-cardiomyocytes (CMs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and endothelial cells (ECs), all of which were differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs)-significantly improved cardiac function, infarct size, and hypertrophy in a pig model of myocardial infarction (MI). However, hPSC-derived CMs (hPSC-CMs) are phenotypically immature, which may lead to arrhythmogenic concerns; thus, since hPSC-derived cardiac fibroblasts (hPSC-CFs) appear to enhance the maturity of hPSC-CMs, we compared hCMPs containing hPSC-CMs, -SMCs, -ECs, and -CFs (4TCC-hCMPs) with a second hCMP construct that lacked hPSC-CFs but was otherwise identical [hCMP containing hPSC-CMs, -AECs, and -SMCs (3TCC-hCMPs)].

Methods and results: hCMPs were generated in a fibrin scaffold. MI was induced in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice through permanent coronary artery (left anterior descending) ligation, followed by treatment with cardiac muscle patches. Animal groups included: MI heart treated with 3TCC-hCMP; with 4TCC-hCMP; MI heart treated with no patch (MI group) and sham group. Cardiac function was evaluated using echocardiography, and cell engraftment rate and infarct size were evaluated histologically at 4 weeks after patch transplantation. The results from experiments in cultured hCMPs demonstrate that the inclusion of cardiac fibroblast in 4TCC-hCMPs had (i) better organized sarcomeres; (ii) abundant structural, metabolic, and ion-channel markers of CM maturation; and (iii) greater conduction velocities (31 ± 3.23 cm/s, P < 0.005) and action-potential durations (APD50 = 365 ms ± 2.649, P < 0.0001; APD = 408 ms ± 2.757, P < 0.0001) than those (velocity and APD time) in 3TCC-hCMPs. Furthermore, 4TCC-hCMPs transplantation resulted in better cardiac function [ejection fraction (EF) = 49.18% ± 0.86, P < 0.05], reduced infarct size (22.72% ± 0.98, P < 0.05), and better engraftment (15.99% ± 1.56, P < 0.05) when compared with 3TCC-hCMPs (EF = 41.55 ± 0.92%, infarct size = 39.23 ± 4.28%, and engraftment = 8.56 ± 1.79%, respectively).

Conclusion: Collectively, these observations suggest that the inclusion of hPSC-CFs during hCMP manufacture promotes hPSC-CM maturation and increases the potency of implanted hCMPs for improving cardiac recovery in mice model of MI.

Keywords: Heart failure; Human pluripotent stem cell; Myocardial infarction; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Heart Injuries* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Infarction* / pathology
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Swine