Imaging Stem Cell Therapy for the Heart
Carolyn Carr Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
December 16, 12h00, CNC Auditorium (2nd floor, FMUC, Pólo I)

Heart failure remains one of the leading causes of mortality in the western world. Many aspects of human cardiovascular disease can be studied using rodent models, including surgical disease models such as that of the infarcted heart. In vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide accurate measurements of cardiac function and morphology, and, as MRI is non-invasive, these measurements can be taken repeatedly through the development of the disease. Therapies for heart failure following myocardial infarction include stem cell therapy, as a preventative measure, and mechanical unloading and transplantation for end-stage heart failure.

Here I will describe the use of in vivo MRI to characterize cardiac function following myocardial infarction. I will compare the efficacy of stem cell therapy using bone marrow mesenchymal cells and endogenous cardiac stem cells. By labeling cells with particles of iron oxide we are able to confirm injection success and track retention of administered cells over time using MRI. Although stem cell administration is a promising therapy for myocardial infarction, once a heart begins to fail it is unlikely that the muscle can be fully regenerated in situ. Ultimately it may be possible to grow patient-specific hearts for transplantation by culturing endogenous stem cells on scaffolds of decellurised heart tissue. Finally, I will discuss the use of heterotopic heart transplantation as a model for mechanical unloading of the failing heart using a left ventricular assist device, and as a potential test-bed for recellurised hearts.
Funded by ERDF - European Regional Development Fund through COMPETE 2020 and National Funds via FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, under projects POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007440 e UIDB/04539/2020.

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