METHODS AND RESULTS: In vitro experiments revealed that EPO dosed-dependently decreased eEPC and leukocyte apoptosis. Moreover, in the presence of EPO mRNA expression in eEPC of proangiogenic and proinflammatory mediators measured by TaqMan PCR was enhanced. Experimental MI was induced by ligation and reperfusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery of nude rats (n = 8-9). After myocardial transplantation of eEPC and EPO CD68+ leukocyte count and vessel density were enhanced in the border zone of the infarct area. Moreover, apoptosis of transplanted CD31 + TUNEL + eEPC was decreased as compared to transplantation of eEPCs alone. Regional wall motion of the left ventricle was measured using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. After injection of eEPC in the presence of EPO regional wall motion significantly improved as compared to injection of eEPCs or EPO alone.
CONCLUSION: Intramyocardial transplantation of eEPC in the presence of EPO during experimental MI improves regional wall motion. This was associated with an increased local inflammation, vasculogenesis and survival of the transplanted cells. Local application of EPO in addition to cell therapy may prove beneficial in myocardial remodeling.