Background. Transplantation of cultured cardiomyocytes into myocardial scar tissue may prevent heart failure. Methods. Scar tissue was produced in the left ventricular free wall of 15 rats (weight, 450 g) by cryoinjury. Seven animals had operation only and survived for 8 weeks (sham group). Four weeks after cryoinjury, cultured fetal rat cardiomyocytes or culture medium was injected into the scar tissue of transplantation (n = 5) and control (n = 5) animals, respectively. Five other rats were sacrificed for scar assessment. Eight weeks after cryoinjury heart function in the transplantation, control, and sham groups was measured using a Langendorff preparation. Histologic studies were performed to quantify the extent of the scar and the transplanted cells. Results. Four weeks after cryoinjury, 36% ± 4% (mean ± 1 standard error) of the left ventricular free wall surface area was scar tissue. At 8 weeks, the scar size had increased (p < 0.01) to 55% ± 3% in the control group. Although the scar size (43% ± 2%) in the transplantation group at 8 weeks was not significantly different from that at 4 weeks, it was less (p < 0.05) than that in the control group. Hearts in the sham group had no scar tissue. The transplanted cardiomyocytes had formed cardiac tissue within the myocardial scar. Systolic and developed pressures in the transplantation group hearts were greater (p = 0.0001) than in the control group hearts but less (p < 0.01) than those in the sham group hearts. Conclusions. The transplanted cardiomyocytes formed cardiac tissue in the myocardial scar, limited scar expansion, and improved heart function compared with findings in the control hearts.
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