Coronary heart disease (CHD) has been the number one killer in the United States for decades and causes millions of deaths each year. Clinical treatment of heart ischemic injury relieves symptoms in the acute stage of CHD; however, patients with an infarcted heart muscle can develop heart failure (HF) due to chronic maladaptive remodeling. Regenerative therapy has been studied as a potential treatment option for myocardial infarction (MI) and HF. Cardiac patches have been designed and tested to increase therapeutic retention and integration in this field. However, the delivery usually requires invasive surgical techniques, including open-chest surgeries and heart or pericardium manipulation. Those procedures may cause chronic adhesions between the heart anterior wall and chest wall.
Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill created and tested an injectable ExoGel by embedding mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) -derived exosomes into hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogel. ExoGel was injected into the pericardial cavity of rats with transverse aortic constriction (TAC) induced heart failure. ExoGel therapy reduced LV chamber size and preserved wall thickness. The feasibility and safety ExoGel injection was further confirmed in a pig model.