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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Physiology

Fetal Myocardium in the Kidney Capsule: An In Vivo Model of Repopulation of Myocytes by Bone Marrow Cells
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Author: Eric Y. Zhang et al.

by Eric Y. Zhang, Qiang Xiong, Lei Ye, Piradeep Suntharalingam, Xiaohong Wang, C. Michael Astle, Jianyi Zhang, David E. Harrison

Debate surrounds the question of whether the heart is a post-mitotic organ in part due to the lack of an in vivo model in which myocytes are able to actively regenerate. The current study describes the first such mouse model — a fetal myocardial environment grafted into the adult kidney capsule. Here it is used to test whether cells descended from bone marrow can regenerate cardiac myocytes. One week after receiving the fetal heart grafts, recipients were lethally irradiated and transplanted with marrow from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing C57Bl/6J (B6) donors using normal B6 recipients and fetal donors. Levels of myocyte regeneration from GFP marrow within both fetal myocardium and adult hearts of recipients were evaluated histologically. Fetal myocardium transplants had rich neovascularization and beat regularly after 2 weeks, continuing at checkpoints of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and12 months after transplantation. At each time point, GFP-expressing rod-shaped myocytes were found in the fetal myocardium, but only a few were found in the adult hearts. The average count of repopulated myocardium with green rod-shaped myocytes was 996.8 cells per gram of fetal myocardial tissue, and 28.7 cells per adult heart tissue, representing a thirty-five fold increase in fetal myocardium compared to the adult heart at 12 months (when numbers of green rod-shaped myocytes were normalized to per gram of myocardial tissue). Thus, bone marrow cells can differentiate to myocytes in the fetal myocardial environment. The novel in vivo model of fetal myocardium in the kidney capsule appears to be valuable for testing repopulating abilities of potential cardiac progenitors.
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