One of the main cause of ineffective cell therapy in repairing the damaged heart is the poor yield of grafted cells. To overcome this drawback, rats with 4-week-old myocardial infarction (MI) were injected in the border zone with human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) conveyed by poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microcarriers (PAMs) releasing hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (GFsPAMs). According to treatments, animals were subdivided into different groups: MI-ADSC, MI-ADSC/PAM, MI-GFsPAM, MI-ADSC/GFsPAM, and untreated MI-V. Two weeks after injection, a 31% increase in ADSC engraftment was observed in MI-ADSC/PAM compared with MI-ADSC (p < 0.05). A further ADSC retention was obtained in MI-ADSC/GFsPAM with respect to MI-ADSC (106%, p < 0.05) and MI-ADSC/PAM (57%, p < 0.05). A 130% higher density of blood vessels of medium size was present in MI-ADSC/GFsPAM compared with MI-ADSC (p < 0.01). MI-ADSC/GFsPAM also improved, albeit slightly, left ventricular remodeling and hemodynamics with respect to the other groups. Notably, ADSCs and/or PAMs, with or without HGF/IGF-1, trended to induce arrhythmias in electrically driven, Langendorff-perfused, hearts of all groups. Thus, PAMs releasing HGF/IGF-1 markedly increase ADSC engraftment 2 weeks after injection and stimulate healing in chronically infarcted myocardium, but attention should be paid to potentially negative electrophysiological consequences.
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