Erythropoietin (EPO) has the potential to improve ischemic tissue by mobilizing endothelial progenitor cells and enhancing neovascularization. We hypothesized that combining EPO with human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) would improve post-myocardial infarction (MI) effects synergistically. Methods: After MI, five to seven animals were randomly assigned to each of the following treatments: control; hCG; EPO; hCG + EPO, and prolactin (PRL) + EPO. Follow-up echocardiograms were performed to assess cardiac structure and function. Apoptosis was determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assay and western blot analysis for apoptosis-related proteins, and cell proliferation by immunostaining for Ki67 and c-kit cells. Results: The MI-mediated increased chamber systolic dimension (p < 0.05 in controls) was attenuated by hCG, EPO, and hCG + EPO (p < 0.05 vs. control) but not PRL + EPO. Similarly all treatment groups, except PRL + EPO, reduced MI-induced increases (p < 0.05 vs. control) in ejection fraction (EF). The functional improvement in the EPO-treated groups was accompanied by increased capillary density. Apoptosis was markedly reduced in all treated groups. Significantly more cardiac c-kit+ cells were found in the hCG + EPO group. Conclusion: Our findings revealed that EPO, hCG, or their combination ameliorate cardiac remodeling post-MI. Whereas EPO stimulates neovascularization only and hCG + EPO stimulates c-kit+ cell proliferation. These data suggest that combining mobilizing and proliferative agents adds to the durability and sustainability of cytokine-based therapies for remodeling post-MI.
- Heart failure
- Myocardial infarction