Xenotransplantation of human unrestricted somatic stem cells in a pig model of acute myocardial infarction

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Stem cell therapy may help restore cardiac function after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but the optimal therapeutic cell type has not been identified.


We examined the effects of CD34-/CD45- human unrestricted somatic stem cells (USSCs) in pigs (n = 30) with an AMI created by a 90-min occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Pigs were randomly assigned to receive either USSCs (302 ± 23 × 106 cells) or phosphate-buffered saline via 15 NOGA-guided transendocardial injections 10 days after AMI. Cyclosporine A (10 mg/kg orally, twice a day) was started in all pigs 3 days before control or cell treatment. Cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography before injection and at 4 and 8 weeks after treatment. Serum titers for pig IgG antibodies against USSCs were also measured at these time points and before AMI.


Compared with control pigs, USSC-treated pigs showed no significant differences in any of the functional parameters examined. USSC-treated pigs showed variable increases in anti-USSC IgG antibody titers in the blood and chronic inflammatory infiltrates at the cell injection sites. Immunohistochemical studies of the injection sites using human anti-mitochondrial antibodies failed to detect implanted USSCs.


We conclude that human USSCs did not improve cardiac function in a pig model of AMI. Cell transplantation in a xenogeneic setting may obscure the benefits of stem cell therapy.

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