INTRODUCTION: Chemokine-directed migration is crucial for homing of regenerative cells to the infarcted heart and correlates with outcomes of cell therapy trials. Hence, transplantation of chemokine-responsive bone marrow cells may be ideal for treatment of myocardial ischemia. To verify the therapeutic activity of bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM-MNCs) selected by in vitro migration towards the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) in a mouse model of myocardial infarction (MI), we used BM-MNCs from patients with previous large MI recruited in the TransACT-1&2 cell therapy trials.
METHODS: Unfractioned BM-MNCs, SDF-1-responsive, and SDF-1-nonresponsive BM-MNCs isolated by patients recruited in the TransACT-1&2 cell therapy trials were tested in Matrigel assay to evaluate angiogenic potential. Secretome and antigenic profile were characterized by flow cytometry. Angiogenin expression was measured by RT-PCR. Cells groups were also intramyocardially injected in an in vivo model of MI (8-week-old immune deficient CD1-FOXN1(nu/nu) mice). Echocardiography and hemodynamic measurements were performed before and at 14 days post-MI. Arterioles and capillaries density, infiltration of inflammatory cells, interstitial fibrosis, and cardiomyocyte proliferation and apoptosis were assessed by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: In vitro migration enriched for monocytes, while CD34(+) and CD133(+) cells and T lymphocytes remained mainly confined in the non-migrated fraction. Unfractioned total BM-MNCs promoted angiogenesis on Matrigel more efficiently than migrated or non-migrated cells. In mice with induced MI, intramyocardial injection of unfractionated or migrated BM-MNCs was more effective in preserving cardiac contractility and pressure indexes than vehicle or non-migrated BM-MNCs. Moreover, unfractioned BM-MNCs enhanced neovascularization, whereas the migrated fraction was unique in reducing the infarct size and interstitial fibrosis. In vitro studies on isolated cardiomyocytes suggest participation of angiogenin, a secreted ribonuclease that inhibits protein translation under stress conditions, in promotion of cardiomyocyte survival by migrated BM-MNCs.
CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of bone marrow cells helps post-MI healing through distinct actions on vascular cells and cardiomyocytes. In addition, the SDF-1-responsive fraction is enriched with angiogenin-expressing monocytes, which may improve cardiac recovery through activation of cardiomyocyte response to stress. Identification of factors linking migratory and therapeutic outcomes could help refine regenerative approaches.