Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Gyongyi Molnar, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Dave Adams, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Jill Rulfs, Committee Member




Myocardial infarction results in tissue necrosis, leading to cell loss and ultimately to cardiac failure. Implantation of immature progenitor cells into the scar area may compensate for the cell loss and provides a new therapeutic avenue for infarct treatment. Premature myoblasts derived from skeletal muscle are one of the best candidates for this therapeutic purpose, because biopsies used for autologous cell therapy can be accessed easily, the isolated myoblasts can proliferate well in vitro, and the skeletal and cardiac muscles are structurally and functionally similar. In this study we investigated the survival and differentiation of the implanted skeletal myoblasts in the non-cryoinjured myocardium and the myocardial scar, using a syngeneic Lewis rat model. A therapeutic dose of 4x106 skeletal myoblasts/animal was implanted into the non-cryoinjured and scar tissue, and the fate of the implant was monitored at 12, 28 and 56 days after implantation by immunohistochemistry. We detected fast myosin heavy chain (fMHC) expression at each time point but significantly fewer positive cells in the scar than in the non-injured tissue. This was consistent with the staining patterns of slow myosin heavy chain (sMHC) and myogenin that overlapped with fMHC positive areas. Although the implanted myoblasts differentiated into skeletal muscle cells, they did not transdifferentiate into cardiac muscle, demonstrated by the absence of cardiac troponin I expression. During this analysis we developed a model, which could be useful to test new strategies for myoblast implantation (dosage, genetic modification, new injection technique etc.) designed to promote better engraftment of cultured myoblasts in the myocardial scar.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biology & Biotechnology

Project Type


Date Accepted





myoblasts, dexamethasone, infarction, cryoinjury, desmin, myosin heavy chain, differentiation, Myocardial infarction, Myoblast transfer therapy, Cellular therapy