Scientists have evaluated the impact of donor age on the efficacy of myocardial cellular therapy for ischemic cardiomyopathy.
Characteristics of smooth muscle cells (SMC), bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs), and skeletal muscle cells (SKMCs) from young, adult, and old rats were compared in vitro.
Three weeks after coronary ligation, 3.5 million SMCs (n = 11) or MSCs (n = 9) from old syngenic rats or culture medium (n = 6) were injected into the ischemic region.
Five weeks after implantation, cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography and the Langendorff apparatus.
In the in vitro study, the numbers and proliferation of MSCs from fresh bone marrow and SKMCs from fresh tissue but not SMCs were markedly diminished in old animals (P < 0.05 both groups).
SKMCs from old animals did not reach confluence.
After treatment with 5-azacytidine (azacitidine), the myogenic potential of old MSCs was decreased compared with young MSCs.
In the in vivo study, both SMC and MSC transplantation induced significant angiogenesis compared with media injections (P < 0.05 both groups).
Transplantation of SMCs but not MSCs prevented scar thinning (P = 0.03) and improved ejection fraction and fractional shortening (P < 0.05).
Load-independent indices of cardiac function in a Langendorff preparation confirmed improved function in the aged SMC group (P = 0.01) but not in the MSC group compared with the control group.
In conclusion, donor age adversely impacts the efficacy of cellular therapy for myocardial regeneration and is cell-type dependent.
SMCs from old donors retain their ability to improve cardiac function after implantation into ischemic myocardium.