Percutaneous coronary injection of bone marrow cells in small experimental animals: Small is not too small

Gabriella Agnoletti, Anna Cargnoni, Laura Agnoletti, Marco Di Marcello, Piera Balzarini, Luca Gitti, Patrizia Martina, Pier Giovanni Grigolato, Roberto Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intracoronary infusion of bone marrow cells (BMCs) is thought to induce cardiac regeneration in ischemic heart disease and dilated cardiomyopathy. The aim of our study was to develop a new method to inject BMCs into coronary arteries of small experimental animals. Transient atrioventricular block (AVB) was induced in 25 rats and 39 hamsters by intracarotid injection of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP). Contrast echocardiography was obtained. BMCs (0.2-0.5 ml) were collected through femoral puncture, stained with PKH26 and injected into the carotid artery (CA). Animals were immediately sacrificed or followed for 1 month. To evaluate BMCs transfer from CA to myocardium, AVB and BMCs injections were performed in 10 hamsters subjected to coronary ligation for 30 min. Induction of transient AVB was possible in all animals by injecting 20-30 mg of ATP. Animals recovered a basal cardiac activity spontaneously or by dopamine injection. Flash injection of contrast medium through the CA induced staining of aortic root, coronary arteries, and myocardium. BMCs injection was possible in all cases. No immediate or late ECG changes were observed. Immediately after injection in healthy animals, histological examination showed the presence of BMCs in small coronary arteries and, after 1 month, the absence of infarction. In ischemic hearts, the presence of BMCs in the myocardium was observed 24 h after ischemia. ATP-induced AVB block allows for percutaneous intracoronary injection of BMCs in small experimental animals with no immediate or late mortality and morbidity. This method offers new perspectives for the investigation of BMCs coronary infusion and engraftment in heart diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-808
Number of pages8
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 12 2007


  • Atrioventricular block
  • Experimental heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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