To investigate the effects of age and disease on endogenous cardiac progenitor cells, we obtained right atrial and left ventricular epicardial biopsies from patients (n = 22) with chronic ischaemic heart disease and measured doubling time and surface marker expression in explant- and cardiosphere-derived cells (EDCs, CDCs). EDCs could be expanded from all atrial biopsy samples, but sufficient cells for cardiosphere culture were obtained from only 8 of 22 ventricular biopsies. EDCs from both atrium and ventricle contained a higher proportion of c-kit+ cells than CDCs, which contained few such cells. There was wide variation in expression of CD90 (atrial CDCs 5-92 % CD90+; ventricular CDCs 11-89 % CD90+), with atrial CDCs cultured from diabetic patients (n = 4) containing 1.6-fold more CD90+ cells than those from non-diabetic patients (n = 18). No effect of age or other co-morbidities was detected. Thus, CDCs from atrial biopsies may vary in their therapeutic potential.
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