Cell sheet formation enhances the therapeutic effects of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells on myocardial infarction as a bioactive material

Rui Guo, Feng Wan, Masatoshi Morimatsu, Qing Xu, Tian Feng, Hang Yang, Yichen Gong, Shuhong Ma, Yun Chang, Siyao Zhang, Youxu Jiang, Heqing Wang, Dehua Chang, Hongjia Zhang, Yunpeng Ling, Feng Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Stem cell-based therapy has been used to treat ischaemic heart diseases for two decades. However, optimal cell types and transplantation methods remain unclear. This study evaluated the therapeutic effects of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell (hUCMSC) sheet on myocardial infarction (MI). Methods: hUCMSCs expressing luciferase were generated by lentiviral transduction for in vivo bio-luminescent imaging tracking of cells. We applied a temperature-responsive cell culture surface-based method to form the hUCMSC sheet. Cell retention was evaluated using an in vivo bio-luminescent imaging tracking system. Unbiased transcriptional profiling of infarcted hearts and further immunohistochemical assessment of monocyte and macrophage subtypes were used to determine the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of the hUCMSC sheet. Echocardiography and pathological analyses of heart sections were performed to evaluate cardiac function, angiogenesis and left ventricular remodelling. Results: When transplanted to the infarcted mouse hearts, hUCMSC sheet significantly improved the retention and survival compared with cell suspension. At the early stage of MI, hUCMSC sheet modulated inflammation by decreasing Mcp1-positive monocytes and CD68-positive macrophages and increasing Cx3cr1-positive non-classical macrophages, preserving the cardiomyocytes from acute injury. Moreover, the extracellular matrix produced by hUCMSC sheet then served as bioactive scaffold for the host cells to graft and generate new epicardial tissue, providing mechanical support and routes for revascularsation. These effects of hUCMSC sheet treatment significantly improved the cardiac function at days 7 and 28 post-MI. Conclusions: hUCMSC sheet formation dramatically improved the biological functions of hUCMSCs, mitigating adverse post-MI remodelling by modulating the inflammatory response and providing bioactive scaffold upon transplantation into the heart. Translational perspective: Due to its excellent availability as well as superior local cellular retention and survival, allogenic transplantation of hUCMSC sheets can more effectively acquire the biological functions of hUCMSCs, such as modulating inflammation and enhancing angiogenesis. Moreover, the hUCMSC sheet method allows the transfer of an intact extracellular matrix without introducing exogenous or synthetic biomaterial, further improving its clinical applicability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2999-3012
Number of pages14
JournalBioactive Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Cell sheet
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Regulation of inflammatory response
  • Ventricular remodelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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