Local preirradiation of infarcted cardiac tissue substantially enhances cell engraftment
The success of cell therapy for the treatment of myocardial infarction depends on finding novel approaches that can substantially implement the engraftment of the transplanted cells. In order to enhance cell engraftment, most studies have focused on the pretreatment of transplantable cells. Here we have considered an alternative approach that involves the preconditioning of infarcted heart tissue to reduce endogenous cell activity and thus provide an advantage to our exogenous cells. This treatment is routinely used in other tissues such as bone marrow and skeletal muscle to improve cell engraftment, but it has never been taken in cardiac tissue. To avoid long-term cardiotoxicity induced by full heart irradiation we developed a rat model of a catheter-based heart irradiation system to locally impact a delimited region of the infarcted cardiac tissue. As proof of concept, we transferred ZsGreen(+) iPSCs in the infarcted heart, due to their ease of use and detection. We found a very significant increase in cell engraftment in preirradiated rats. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that preconditioning the infarcted cardiac tissue with local irradiation can substantially enhance cell engraftment.