Fetal cardiomyocytes isolated from transgenic mice carrying a fusion gene of the α-cardiac myosin heavy chain promoter with a β-galactosidase reporter were examined for their ability to form stable intracardiac grafts. Embryonic day 15 transgenic cardiomyocytes delivered directly into the myocardium of syngeneic hosts formed stable grafts, as identified by nuclear β-galactosidase activity. Grafted cardiomyocytes were observed as long as 2 months after implantation, the latest date assayed. Intracardiac graft formation did not induce overtly negative effects on the host myocardium and was not associated with chronic immune rejection. Electron microscopy revealed the presence of nascent intercalated disks connecting the engrafted fetal cardiomyocytes and the host myocardium. These results suggest that intracardiac grafting might provide a useful approach for myocardial repair, provided that the grafted cells can contribute to myocardial function.
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