Autologous Umbilical Cord Blood–Derived Mononuclear Cell Therapy Promotes Cardiac Proliferation and Adaptation in a Porcine Model of Right Ventricle Pressure Overload

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Congenital heart diseases, including single ventricle circulations, are clinically challenging due to chronic pressure overload and the inability of the myocardium to compensate for lifelong physiological demands. To determine the clinical relevance of autologous umbilical cord blood–derived mononuclear cells (UCB-MNCs) as a therapy to augment cardiac adaptation following surgical management of congenital heart disease, a validated model system of right ventricular pressure overload due to pulmonary artery banding (PAB) in juvenile pigs has been employed. PAB in a juvenile porcine model and intramyocardial delivery of UCB-MNCs was evaluated in three distinct 12-week studies utilizing serial cardiac imaging and end-of-study pathology evaluations. PAB reproducibly induced pressure overload leading to chronic right ventricular remodeling including significant myocardial fibrosis and elevation of heart failure biomarkers. High-dose UCB-MNCs (3 million/kg) delivered into the right ventricular myocardium did not cause any detectable safety issues in the context of arrhythmias or abnormal cardiac physiology. In addition, this high-dose treatment compared with placebo controls demonstrated that UCB-MNCs promoted a significant increase in Ki-67-positive cardiomyocytes coupled with an increase in the number of CD31+ endothelium. Furthermore, the incorporation of BrdU-labeled cells within the myocardium confirmed the biological potency of the high-dose UCB-MNC treatment. Finally, the cell-based treatment augmented the physiological adaptation compared with controls with a trend toward increased right ventricular mass within the 12 weeks of the follow-up period. Despite these adaptations, functional changes as measured by echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging did not demonstrate differences between cohorts in this surgical model system. Therefore, this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled pre-clinical trial establishes the safety of UCB-MNCs delivered via intramyocardial injections in a dysfunctional right ventricle and validates the induction of cardiac proliferation and angiogenesis as transient paracrine mechanisms that may be important to optimize long-term outcomes for surgically repaired congenital heart diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCell transplantation
StatePublished - 2022


  • cardiac adaptation
  • congenital heart disease
  • proliferation
  • pulmonary artery banding
  • umbilical cord blood–derived mononuclear cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


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