Résumé :

Background: Stem cell therapy can facilitate cardiac repair after healed myocardial infarction but the optimal cell type remains uncertain.

Aims: To investigate the pathophysiology of heart failure in a canine model of healed myocardial infarction and to compare the efficacy and the safety of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cell (BMNC) transfer and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transfer in this model. It was a blind, randomized and placebo control study.

Methods: Eleven weeks after coronary ligation, 24 dogs received intramyocardial injections of BMNC, MSC or Placebo (n = 8 per groups). Echocardiography, conductance method, magnetic resonance imaging, serum neurohormones, holter monitoring, macromorphometry, histology and real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction were used to assess cardiac performance, safety and remodelling in healthy animals, before cell transplantation and up to 16 weeks’ follow-up.

Results: The model was characterized by decreased left ventricular end-systolic elastance and ventricular-arterial uncoupling without alteration of compliance.

Four months after BMNC transfer, the regional systolic function measured at echocardiographic showed a sustained improvement. This improvement was associated with an improved left ventricular end-systolic elastance and a decreased infarct size. Although the left ventricular ejection fraction stayed unchanged, the serum level of N-terminal B-type natriuretic propeptide level decreased. Mononuclear cell transfer was also associated with increased left ventricular relative wall area, increased vascular density, intramyocardial vascular remodelling and upregulation of angiogenic factors gene expression. Mesenchymal stem cell transfer only improved lately and moderately the regional systolic function, without improvement of cardiac contractility or decreased infarct size.

Conclusions: In a canine model of chronic myocardial infarction, BMNC transfer is superior to MSC transfer in improvement of cardiac contractility and regional systolic function, and to reduce the infarct size and plasma N-terminal B-type natriuretic propeptide level. Functional improvement is associated with a favourable angiogenic environment and neovascularization.