Background: Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) alters the ventricular electrophysiologic properties after
myocardial infarction (MI) in rats. However, it is unclear whether MSCs transplantation enhances the secretion of nerve growth factor
(NGF) and affects cardiac sympathetic remodeling.
Methods: MI was induced in 35 male Sprague-Dawley rats. Two weeks later, the animals were randomized to MSCs or phosphate buffer
solution (PBS) injections into the infarcted myocardium. Six weeks thereafter, the expressions of NGF, growth associated protein 43
(GAP43) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were measured and the density of GAP43 and TH positive nerves was calculated in the borderzone.
NGF levels were detected in different culture conditions with neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs, 2×105/well) and MSCs
Results: Compared with PBS, mRNA expression and protein levels of NGF, GAP43 and TH increased in the border zone after MSCs injection.
Immunohistochemistry showed more GAP43- and TH-positive nerves in the MSCs than in the PBS group. Compared to monocultured
MSCs, mono-cultured NRVMs secreted more NGF in vitro.
Conclusions: The expression of NGF increased after MSCs transplantation, which may affect sympathetic remodeling and the electrophysiological
properties after MI. Paracrine factors secreted by MSC-CM may be involved in this process.