• Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Human heme oxygenase-1;
  • Gene therapy;
  • Myocardial cell injury


The aim has been to determine whether the supernatants of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transfected with adenovirus carrying human heme oxygenase-1 (hHO-1) gene protect cardiomyocytes from ischemic injury. We have found that hHO-1 infected MSCs (hHO-1-MSCs) increased expression of hHO-1 protein. Apoptosis of cultured hHO-1-MSCs exposed to hypoxia was suppressed. Several cytokines, including HGF, bFGF, TGF-β, VEGF and IL-1β, were produced by hHO-1-MSCs, some being significantly enhanced under hypoxia stimulation. Meanwhile, those cytokines reduced caspase-3 level and activity in cultured adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (ARVCs) exposed to hypoxia. Supernatants obtained from hHO-1-MSCs improved left ventricular function, limited myocardial infarct size, increased microvessel density, and inhibited apoptosis of cardiomyocytes in rat myocardial infarction. It can be concluded hHO-1-modified MSCs prevent myocardial cell injury via secretion of paracrine-acting mediators.