TRANSLATIONAL CARDIAC MR RESEARCH CENTER
LGE MRI shows large areas of new viable myocardium in the scar zone after human cardiomyocyte transplantation to the infarcted monkey's heart.
This paper is a collaborative effort of the large group leaded by Dr. Murry (UW Pathology).
Pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocyte grafts can remuscularize substantial amounts of infarcted myocardium and beat in synchrony with the heart, but in some settings cause ventricular arrhythmias. It is unknown whether human cardiomyocytes can restore cardiac function in a physiologically relevant large animal model. Here we show that transplantation of ∼750 million cryopreserved human embryonic stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) enhances cardiac function in macaque monkeys with large myocardial infarctions. One month after hESC-CM transplantation, global left ventricular ejection fraction improved 10.6 ± 0.9% vs. 2.5 ± 0.8% in controls, and by 3 months there was an additional 12.4% improvement in treated vs. a 3.5% decline in controls. Grafts averaged 11.6% of infarct size, formed electromechanical junctions with the host heart, and by 3 months contained ∼99% ventricular myocytes. A subset of animals experienced graft-associated ventricular arrhythmias, shown by electrical mapping to originate from a point-source acting as an ectopic pacemaker. Our data demonstrate that remuscularization of the infarcted macaque heart with human myocardium provides durable improvement in left ventricular function. The paper is published in Nature Biotechnology, 2018, volume 36, pages 597–605: https://www.nature.com/articles/nbt.4162