The Immature Heart: The Roles of Bone Marrow Stromal Stem Cells in Growth and Myocardial Repair

Luo Jun, Duong Minh, Wan Calvin, Teng Carolyn J, Chiu Ray C.J, Shum-Tim Dominique*
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Montreal General Hospital, MUHC, Canada

Bentham Science Publishers Ltd

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Division of CardiothoracicSurgery, the Montreal General Hospital, MUHC, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Suite C9-169 Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada; Tel: (514) 934-1934 ext. 44326; Fax: (514) 934-8289;


Studies have shown that adult bone marrow derived stem cells (MSCs) can participate in repair of myocardial injury in adult hearts, as well as in cardiac growth during fetal development in utero. Yet, no studies have evaluated the role of MSCs with respect to normal growth or tissue repair in immature hearts after birth. The present study examines whether MSCs may participate in the myocardial growth and injury in the post-natal immature hearts. MSCs were isolated from adult Lewis rats and labeled with Lac-Z gene using retroviral vectors. These MSCs were injected systemically into groups of neonatal (NB=2days-old), immature (B=30days-old) and adult (A=>3months-old) isogeneic Lewis rats. Additionally, left coronary artery ligation was carried out in subgroups of immature (BL) and adult (AL) rats one week after MSCs injection. The hearts were harvested serially from 2-days to 6-weeks, stained with X-Gal for labeled MSCs. Car-diomyocyte phenotypic expression was evaluated by immunohistological staining for Troponin I-C and Connexin-43. La-beled MSCs were found to home into the bone marrow in all rats of different developmental stages. They could be re-cruited from bone marrow into the infarcted site of myocardium only in groups AL and BL. They were also capable of differentiating into cardiomyocyte phenotype after myocardial injury. In contrast to that reported in the developing fetus, MSCs did not appear to contribute to the growth of non-injured hearts after birth. However, they can be recruited from the bone marrow and regenerate damaged myocardium both in the adult and in the immature hearts.