Closed-chest cell injections into mouse myocardium guided by high-resolution echocardiography

Matthew L Springer
AJP: Heart and Circulatory Physiology2005
The mouse is an important model for the development of therapeutic stem cell/bone marrow cell implantation to treat ischemic myocardium. However, its small heart size hampers accurate implantation into the left ventricular (LV) wall. Precise injections have required surgical visualization of the heart, which is subject to complications and is impractical for delayed or repeated injections. Furthermore, the thickness of the myocardium is comparable to the length of a needle bevel, so surgical exposure does not prevent inadvertent injection into the LV cavity. We describe the use of high-resolution echocardiography to guide nonsurgical injections accurately into the mouse myocardial wall. We optimized this system by using a mixture of ultrasound contrast and fluorescent microspheres injected into the myocardium, which enabled us to interpret the ultrasound image of the needle during injection. Quantitative dye injection studies demonstrated that guided closed-chest injections and open-chest injections deliver comparable amounts of injectate to the myocardium. We successfully used this system in a mouse myocardial infarction model to target the injection of labeled cells to a region adjacent to the infarct. Intentional injection of tracer into the LV cavity resulted in a small accumulation in the myocardium, suggesting that non-guided cell injections into mouse hearts may appear to be successful even if the majority of the injectate is lost in the chamber. The use of this system will allow more precise cellular implantation into the mouse myocardium by accurately guiding injections to desired locations, confirming successful implantation of cells, in a clinically relevant time frame.

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