Uterine cells are recruited to the infarcted heart and improve cardiac outcomes in female rats

Munira Xaymardan, Zhuo Sun, Kota Hatta, Masaki Tsukashita, Filip Konecny, Richard D. Weisel, Ren Ke Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We evaluated the hypothesis that uterine cells home to the heart after injury and improve cardiac outcomes. Premenopausal women have fewer cardiovascular complications than age-matched men, but the mechanisms responsible for this protection have not been conclusively identified. Hysterectomy was performed in young female rats (leaving the ovaries intact), and 7days later the left coronary artery was ligated to produce a myocardial infarction (MI). Cardiac function at 28days post-MI was measured using echocardiography. Fractional shortening was best in non-hysterectomized (non-Hx) females and lower in both Hx females and males. Uteri were then removed from GFP rats and heterotopically transplanted into non-GFP recipients to investigate homing of uterine cells to the infarcted myocardium. Seven days later, the uterine transplant recipients underwent coronary ligation. GFP + cells were found in the recipient hearts 7days after MI and persisted for 6months. Confocal analysis showed that homed uterine cells were located around blood vessels, suggesting their involvement in neovascularization. We then evaluated uterine cell transplantation by intravenously injecting GFP + uterine cells into Hx females immediately after MI. These GFP + cells were found to home to the injured myocardium, stimulate angiogenesis, improve cardiac function, and increase survival. This study demonstrates that uterine cells can home to the injured myocardium, enhance tissue repair, and prevent cardiac dysfunction. Uterine cells may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular complications in females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1265-1273
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of molecular and cellular cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac function
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Tissue repair
  • Uterine cells
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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