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Title: Transplantation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes for Cardiac Regenerative Therapy
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and bears an immense economic burden. Late-stage heart failure often requires total heart transplantation; however, due to donor shortages and lifelong immunosuppression, alternative cardiac regenerative therapies are in high demand. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as a viable source of human cardiomyocytes for transplantation. Recent developments in several mammalian models of cardiac injury have provided strong evidence of the therapeutic potential of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CM), showing their ability to electromechanically integrate with host cardiac tissue and promote functional recovery. In this review, we will discuss recent developments in hPSC-CM differentiation and transplantation strategies for delivery to the heart. We will highlight the mechanisms through which hPSC-CMs contribute to heart repair, review major challenges in successful transplantation of hPSC-CMs, and present solutions that are being explored to address these limitations. We end with a discussion of the clinical use of hPSC-CMs, including hurdles to clinical translation, current clinical trials, and future perspectives on hPSC-CM transplantation.  more » « less
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Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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    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).


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