OBJECTIVES: Neonatal rodents and piglets naturally regenerate the injured heart after myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that neonatal rabbits also exhibit natural heart regeneration after myocardial infarction.METHODS: New Zealand white rabbit kits underwent sham surgery or left coronary ligation on postnatal day 1 (n=94), postnatal day 4 (n=11), or postnatal day 7 (n=52). Hearts were explanted 1day postsurgery to confirm ischemic injury, at 1week postsurgery to assess cardiomyocyte proliferation, and at 3weeks postsurgery to assess left ventricular ejection fraction and scar size. Data are presented as mean±standard deviation.RESULTS: Size of ischemic injury as a percentage of left ventricular area was similar after myocardial infarction on postnatal day 1 versus on postnatal day 7 (42.3%±5.4% vs 42.3%±4.7%, P=.9984). Echocardiography confirmed severely reduced ejection fraction at 1day after postnatal day 1 myocardial infarction (33.7%±5.3% vs 65.2%±5.5% for postnatal day 1 sham, P=.0001), but no difference at 3weeks after postnatal day 1 myocardial infarction (56.0%±4.0% vs 58.0%±3.3% for postnatal day 1 sham, P=.2198). Ejection fraction failed to recover after postnatal day 4 myocardial infarction (49.2%±1.8% vs 58.5%±5.8% for postnatal day 4 sham, P=.0109) and postnatal day 7 myocardial infarction (39.0%±7.8% vs 60.2%±5.0% for postnatal day 7 sham, P<.0001). At 3weeks after infarction, fibrotic scar represented 5.3%±1.9%, 14.3%±4.9%, and 25.4%±13.3% of the left ventricle area in the postnatal day 1, postnatal day 4, and postnatal day 7 groups, respectively. An increased proportion of peri-infarct cardiomyocytes expressed Ki67 (15.9%±1.8% vs 10.2%±0.8%, P=.0039) and aurora B kinase (4.0%±0.9% vs 1.5%±0.6%, P=.0088) after postnatal day 1 myocardial infarction compared with sham, but no increase was observed after postnatal day 7 myocardial infarction.CONCLUSIONS: A neonatal leporine myocardial infarction model reveals that newborn rabbits are capable of age-dependent natural heart regeneration.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.08.013
View details for PubMedID 34649718