The human heart has a limited capacity for self-repair because, unlike most other cells, cardiomyocytes do not regenerate. Therefore, if a substantial number of myocytes is lost after a myocardial infarction, the performance of the heart may become severely limited, leading to a condition of heart failure. Recently, cell transplantation has emerged as a potential therapy for patients with end-stage heart failure. Of the various cell types being investigated for this purpose, skeletal myoblasts are an attractive option, because they are readily available from muscle biopsies and, if autologous cells are used, immunosuppression is not required and ethical issues are avoided. Several studies have shown that the cells can survive and differentiate after transplantation, and promising clinical results have been reported. However, effects of this therapy on left ventricular function remain largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the long-term hemodynamic effects of intramyocardial injection of autologous skeletal myoblasts in patients with ischemic heart failure. Our findings indicate hemodynamic improvement after follow-up for up to 1 year, which is especially promising in view of the expected decline in left ventricular function in these patients.

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Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine
Department of Cardiology

Steendijk, P., Smits, P., Valgimigli, M., van der Giessen, W., Onderwater, E., & Serruys, P. (2006). Intramyocardial injection of skeletal myoblasts: Long-term follow-up with pressure-volume loops. Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine, 3(SUPPL. 1). doi:10.1038/ncpcardio0416