Most clinical studies have used autologous bone marrow (BM) stem cells for myocardial regeneration in elderly patients. We hypothesize that aging impairs the survival and differentiation potential of BM stem cells thus limiting their therapeutic efficacy. BM-derived MSCs from young (YngMSCs; 8-12 weeks) and old (OldMSCs; 24-26 months) rats were purified and assessed for their responsiveness to anoxia and reparability of infarcted heart. Higher expression of angiogenic growth factors was observed by YngMSCs under anoxia as compared to OldMSCs, cultured either alone or in co-culture (Co-oldMSCs) with YngMSCs. Likewise, YngMSCs were more tolerant to apoptotic stimuli and showed higher ability to form tubular structures during in vitro Matrigel assay as compared to OldMSCs and Co-oldMSCs with a possible role of p21 and p27 as contributory survival factors. For in vivo studies, acute myocardial infarction model was developed in Fischer-344 rats (n = 38). The animals were grouped to receive 70 μl basal DMEM without cells (group 1) or containing 2 × 106 YngMSCs (PKH67 labeled; group 2) or OldMSCs (PKH26 labeled; group 3) and mixture of YngMSCs + OldMSCs (1 × 106 cells each; group 4). Histological studies revealed that by day 7, YngMSCs showed elongated morphology with orientation similar to the host muscle architecture. Electron microscopy and confocal imaging after fluorescent immunostaining showed superior angiomyogenic potential of YngMSCs. Echocardiography showed significantly preserved heart function indices in the animals transplanted with YngMSCs. Aging impairs the responsiveness of OldMSCs to anoxia and their differentiation potential. YngMSCs fail to alter the survival of OldMSCs under in vitro as well as in vivo conditions. It is therefore concluded that transplantation of stem cells from young donors would be a better option for heart cell therapy in future clinical studies.
- Myocardial infarction
- Stem cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine