Intra-myocardial transplantation of CD133+ bone marrow stem cells (BMC) yielded promising results in clinical pilot trials. We now performed the double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled CARDIO133 trial to determine its impact on left ventricular (LV) function and clinical symptoms.Methods and results
Sixty patients with chronic ischaemic heart disease and impaired LV function (left ventricular ejection fraction, LVEF <35%) were randomized to undergo either coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and injection of CD133+ BMC in the non-transmural, hypokinetic infarct border zone (CD133), or CABG and placebo injection (placebo). Pre-operative LVEF was 27 ± 6% in CD133 patients and 26 ± 6% in placebo patients. Outcome was assessed after 6 months, and the primary endpoint was LVEF measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at rest. The incidence of adverse events was similar in both groups. There was no difference in 6-min walking distance, Minnesota Living with Heart Failure score, or Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) class between groups at follow-up, and New York Heart Association class improved more in the placebo group (P = 0.004). By cardiac MRI, LVEF at 6 months was 33 ± 8% in the placebo group and 31 ± 7% in verum patients (P = 0.3), with an average inter-group difference of −2.1% (95% CI −6.3 to 2.1). Systolic or diastolic LV dimensions at 6 months were not different, either. In the CD133 group, myocardial perfusion at rest recovered in more LV segments than in the placebo group (9 vs. 2%, P < 0.001). Scar mass decreased by 2.2 ± 5 g in CD133+ patients (P = 0.05), but was unchanged in the placebo group (0.3 ± 4 g, P = 0.7; inter-group difference in change = 2 g (95% CI −1.1 to 5)). By speckle-tracking echocardiography, cell-treated patients showed a better recovery of regional wall motion when the target area was posterior.Conclusion
Although there may be some improvements in scar size and regional perfusion, intra-myocardial injection of CD133+ BMC has no effect on global LV function and clinical symptoms. Improvements in regional myocardial function are only detectable in patients with posterior infarction, probably because the interventricular septum after anterior infarction is not accessible by trans-epicardial injection.Clinical Trial Registration
This trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov under NCT00462774.