Embryonic stem cell immunogenicity increases upon differentiation after transplantation into ischemic myocardium

Rutger Jan Swijnenburg, Masashi Tanaka, Hannes Vogel, Jeanette Baker, Theo Kofidis, Feny Gunawan, Darren R. Lebl, Anthony D. Caffarelli, Jorg L. De Bruin, Eugenia V. Fedoseyeva, Robert C. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations


Background - We investigated whether differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in ischemic myocardium enhances their immunogenicity, thereby increasing their chance for rejection. Methods and Results - In one series, 129/SvJ-derived mouse ESCs (ES-D3 line) were transplanted by direct myocardial injection (1×106 cells) into murine hearts of both allogeneic (BALB/c, n=20) and syngeneic (129/SvJ, n=12) recipients after left anterior artery ligation. Hearts were procured at 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks after ESC transplantation and analyzed by immunohistochemistry to assess immune cell infiltration (CD3, CD4, CD8, B220, CD11c, Mac-1, and Gr-1) and ESC differentiation (hematoxylin and eosin). In a second series (allogeneic n=5, sham n=3), ESC transplantation was performed similarly; however after 2 weeks, left anterior descending artery-ligated and ESC-injected hearts were heterotopically transplanted into naive BALB/c recipients. After an additional 2 weeks, donor hearts were procured and analyzed by immunohistochemistry. In the first series, the size of all ESC grafts remained stable and there was no evidence of ESC differentiation 2 weeks after transplantation; however, after 4 weeks, both allogeneic and syngeneic ESC grafts showed the presence of teratoma. By 8 weeks, surviving ESCs could be detected in the syngeneic but not in the allogeneic group. Mild inflammatory cellular infiltrates were found in allogeneic recipients at 1 and 2 weeks after transplantation, progressing into vigorous infiltration at 4 and 8 weeks. The second series demonstrated similar vigorous infiltration of immune cells as early as 2 weeks after heterotopic transplantation. Conclusion - In vivo differentiated ESCs elicit an accelerated immune response as compared with undifferentiated ESCs. These data imply that clinical transplantation of allogeneic ESCs or ESC derivatives for treatment of cardiac failure might require immunosuppressive therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)I166-I172
Issue number9 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Aug 30 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cells
  • Immunology
  • Myocardium
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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