Background C-kit+ cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) have been shown to be safe and effective in large-animal models and in an early-phase clinical trial for adult patients with ischemic heart disease. However, CPCs have not yet been evaluated in a preclinical model of right ventricular (RV) dysfunction, which is a salient feature of many forms of congenital heart disease. Methods Human c-kit+ CPCs were generated from right atrial appendage biopsy specimens obtained during routine congenital cardiac operations. Immunosuppressed Yorkshire swine (6 to 9 kg) underwent pulmonary artery banding to induce RV dysfunction. Thirty minutes after banding, pigs received intramyocardial injection into the RV free wall with c-kit+ CPCs (1 million cells, n = 5) or control (phosphate-buffered saline, n = 5). Pigs were euthanized at 30 days postbanding. Results Banding was calibrated to a consistent rise in the RV-to-systemic pressure ratio across both groups (postbanding: CPCs = 0.76 ± 0.06, control = 0.75 ± 0.03). At 30 days postbanding, the CPCs group demonstrated less RV dilatation and a significantly greater RV fractional area of change than the control group (p = 0.002). In addition, measures of RV myocardial strain, including global longitudinal strain and strain rate, were significantly greater in the CPCs group at 4 weeks relative to control (p = 0.004 and p = 0.01, respectively). The RV free wall in the CPCs group demonstrated increased arteriole formation (p < 0.0001) and less myocardial fibrosis compared with the control group (p = 0.02). Conclusions Intramyocardial injection of c-kit+ CPCs results in enhanced RV performance relative to control at 30 days postbanding in neonatal pigs. This model is important for further evaluation of c-kit+ CPCs, including long-term efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine