Combined intramyocardial delivery of human pericytes and cardiac stem cells additively improves the healing of mouse infarcted hearts through stimulation of vascular and muscular repair

Elisa Avolio, Marco Meloni, Helen L Spencer, Federica Riu, Rajesh Katare, Giuseppe Mangialardi, Atsuhiko Oikawa, Iker Rodriguez-Arabaolaza, Zexu Dang, Kathryn Mitchell, Carlotta Reni, Valeria V Alvino, Jonathan Rowlinson, Ugolini Livi, Daniela Cesselli, Gianni Angelini, Costanza Emanueli, Antonio P Beltrami, Paolo Madeddu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


RATIONALE: Optimization of cell therapy for cardiac repair may require the association of different cell populations with complementary activities.

OBJECTIVE: Compare the reparative potential of saphenous vein-derived pericytes (SVPs) with that of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) in a model of myocardial infarction, and investigate whether combined cell transplantation provides further improvements.

METHODS AND RESULTS: SVPs and CSCs were isolated from vein leftovers of coronary artery bypass graft surgery and discarded atrial specimens of transplanted hearts, respectively. Single or dual cell therapy (300 000 cells of each type per heart) was tested in infarcted SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency)-Beige mice. SVPs and CSCs alone improved cardiac contractility as assessed by echocardiography at 14 days post myocardial infarction. The effect was maintained, although attenuated at 42 days. At histological level, SVPs and CSCs similarly inhibited infarct size and interstitial fibrosis, SVPs were superior in inducing angiogenesis and CSCs in promoting cardiomyocyte proliferation and recruitment of endogenous stem cells. The combination of cells additively reduced the infarct size and promoted vascular proliferation and arteriogenesis, but did not surpass single therapies with regard to contractility indexes. SVPs and CSCs secrete similar amounts of hepatocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, stem cell factor, and stromal cell-derived factor-1, whereas SVPs release higher quantities of angiopoietins and microRNA-132. Coculture of the 2 cell populations results in competitive as well as enhancing paracrine activities. In particular, the release of stromal cell-derived factor-1 was synergistically augmented along with downregulation of stromal cell-derived factor-1-degrading enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4.

CONCLUSIONS: Combinatory therapy with SVPs and CSCs may complementarily help the repair of infarcted hearts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e81-e94
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2015

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • Angiogenic Proteins
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Mice, SCID
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Myocardium
  • Myocytes, Cardiac
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Pericytes
  • Phenotype
  • Recovery of Function
  • Regeneration
  • Saphenous Vein
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Remodeling

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