To establish pre-clinical proof of concept that sustained subcutaneous delivery of the secretome of human cardiac stem cells (CSCs) can be achieved in vivo to produce significant cardioreparative outcomes in the setting of myocardial infarction.
Methods and results
Rats were subjected to permanent ligation of left anterior descending coronary artery and randomized to receive subcutaneous implantation of TheraCyte devices containing either culture media as control or 1 × 106 human W8B2+ CSCs, immediately following myocardial ischaemia. At 4 weeks following myocardial infarction, rats treated with W8B2+ CSCs encapsulated within the TheraCyte device showed preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. The preservation of cardiac function was accompanied by reduced fibrotic scar tissue, interstitial fibrosis, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, as well as increased myocardial vascular density. Histological analysis of the TheraCyte devices harvested at 4 weeks post-implantation demonstrated survival of human W8B2+ CSCs within the devices, and the outer membrane was highly vascularized by host blood vessels. Using CSCs expressing plasma membrane reporters, extracellular vesicles of W8B2+ CSCs were found to be transferred to the heart and other organs at 4 weeks post-implantation. Furthermore, mass spectrometry-based proteomic profiling of extracellular vesicles of W8B2+ CSCs identified proteins implicated in inflammation, immunoregulation, cell survival, angiogenesis, as well as tissue remodelling and fibrosis that could mediate the cardioreparative effects of secretome of human W8B2+ CSCs.
Subcutaneous implantation of TheraCyte devices encapsulating human W8B2+ CSCs attenuated adverse cardiac remodelling and preserved cardiac function following myocardial infarction. The TheraCyte device can be employed to deliver stem cells in a minimally invasive manner for effective secretome-based cardiac therapy.