Cardiothoracic Advanced Surgical Materials Laboratory

JW MacArthur Lab

We are a cardiothoracic research lab that is interested in investigating and developing strategies to treat heart failure, valvular heart disease, cardiac revascularization and lung injuries.


John W. MacArthur, MD

Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Adult Cardiac Surgery)

Elbert Heng, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Lab member since 2021

Aravind Krishnan, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Lab member since 2021

Alyssa Garrison, MS

Life Science Research Professional

Lab member since 2022


Ashley Mathews

Life Science Research Professional

Lab member since 2021



  • Bioengineered analog of stromal cell-derived factor 1α preserves the biaxial mechanical properties of native myocardium after infarction. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials Wang, H. n., Wisneski, A. n., Paulsen, M. J., Imbrie-Moore, A. n., Wang, Z. n., Xuan, Y. n., Hernandez, H. L., Lucian, H. J., Eskandari, A. n., Thakore, A. D., Farry, J. M., Hironaka, C. E., von Bornstaedt, D. n., Steele, A. N., Stapleton, L. M., Williams, K. M., Wu, M. A., MacArthur, J. W., Woo, Y. J. 2019; 96: 165–71


    Adverse remodeling of the left ventricle (LV) after myocardial infarction (MI) results in abnormal tissue biomechanics and impaired cardiac function, often leading to heart failure. We hypothesized that intramyocardial delivery of engineered stromal cell-derived factor 1α analog (ESA), our previously-developed supra-efficient pro-angiogenic chemokine, preserves biaxial LV mechanical properties after MI. Male Wistar rats (n = 45) underwent sham surgery (n = 15) or permanent left anterior descending coronary artery ligation. Rats sustaining MI were randomized for intramyocardial injections of either saline (100 μL, n = 15) or ESA (6 μg/kg, n = 15), delivered at four standardized borderzone sites. After 4 weeks, echocardiography was performed, and the hearts were explanted. Tensile testing of the anterolateral LV wall was performed using a displacement-controlled biaxial load frame, and modulus was determined after constitutive modeling. At 4 weeks post-MI, compared to saline controls, ESA-treated hearts had greater wall thickness (1.68 ± 0.05 mm vs 1.42 ± 0.08 mm, p = 0.008), smaller end-diastolic LV internal dimension (6.88 ± 0.29 mm vs 7.69 ± 0.22 mm, p = 0.044), and improved ejection fraction (62.8 ± 3.0% vs 49.4 ± 4.5%, p = 0.014). Histologic analysis revealed significantly reduced infarct size for ESA-treated hearts compared to saline controls (29.4 ± 2.9% vs 41.6 ± 3.1%, p = 0.021). Infarcted hearts treated with ESA exhibited decreased modulus compared to those treated with saline in both the circumferential (211.5 ± 6.9 kPa vs 264.3 ± 12.5 kPa, p = 0.001) and longitudinal axes (194.5 ± 6.5 kPa vs 258.1 ± 14.4 kPa, p < 0.001). In both principal directions, ESA-treated infarcted hearts possessed similar tissue compliance as sham non-infarcted hearts. Overall, intramyocardial ESA therapy improves post-MI ventricular remodeling and function, reduces infarct size, and preserves native LV biaxial mechanical properties.

    View details for PubMedID 31035067

  • SDF 1-alpha Attenuates Myocardial Injury Without Altering the Direct Contribution of Circulating Cells. Journal of cardiovascular translational research Goldstone, A. B., Burnett, C. E., Cohen, J. E., Paulsen, M. J., Eskandari, A., Edwards, B. E., Ingason, A. B., Steele, A. N., Patel, J. B., MacArthur, J. W., Shizuru, J. A., Woo, Y. J. 2018


    Stromal cell-derived factor 1-alpha (SDF) is a potent bone marrow chemokine capable of recruiting circulating progenitor populations to injured tissue. SDF has known angiogenic capabilities, but bone marrow-derived cellular contributions to tissue regeneration remain controversial. Bone marrow from DsRed-transgenic donors was transplanted into recipients to lineage-trace circulating cells after myocardial infarction (MI). SDF was delivered post-MI, and hearts were evaluated for recruitment and plasticity of bone marrow-derived populations. SDF treatment improved ventricular function, border zone vessel density, and CD31+ cell frequency post-MI. Bone marrow-derived endothelial cells were observed; these cells arose through both cell fusion and transdifferentiation. Circulating cells also adopted cardiomyocyte fates, but such events were exceedingly rare and almost exclusively resulted from cell fusion. SDF did not significantly alter the proportion of circulating cells that adopted non-hematopoietic fates. Mechanistic insight into the governance of circulating cells is essential to realizing the full potential of cytokine therapies.

    View details for PubMedID 29468554

  • The tip of the iceberg: Evaluating the mechanism behind dehiscence of mitral annuloplasty rings. The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery MacArthur, J. W., Boyd, J. 2017

    View details for PubMedID 28947191

  • Stem Cell Therapy: Healing or Hype? Why Stem Cell Delivery Doesn't Work CIRCULATION RESEARCH Steele, A. N., MacArthur, J. W., Woo, Y. 2017; 120 (12): 1868–70

    View details for PubMedID 28596172

  • Injectable Bioengineered Hydrogel Therapy in the Treatment of Ischemic Cardiomyopathy. Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine MacArthur, J. W., Steele, A. N., Goldstone, A. B., Cohen, J. E., Hiesinger, W., Woo, Y. J. 2017; 19 (4): 30-?


    Over the past two decades, the field of cardiovascular medicine has seen the rapid development of multiple different modalities for the treatment of ischemic myocardial disease. Most research efforts have focused on strategies aimed at coronary revascularization, with significant technological advances made in percutaneous coronary interventions as well as coronary artery bypass graft surgery. However, recent research efforts have shifted towards ways to address the downstream effects of myocardial infarction on both cellular and molecular levels. To this end, the broad application of injectable hydrogel therapy after myocardial infarction has stimulated tremendous interest. In this article, we will review what hydrogels are, how they can be bioengineered in unique ways to optimize therapeutic potential, and how they can be used as part of a treatment strategy after myocardial infarction.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11936-017-0530-x

    View details for PubMedID 28337717

  • An innovative biologic system for photon-powered myocardium in the ischemic heart. Science advances Cohen, J. E., Goldstone, A. B., Paulsen, M. J., Shudo, Y. n., Steele, A. N., Edwards, B. B., Patel, J. B., MacArthur, J. W., Hopkins, M. S., Burnett, C. E., Jaatinen, K. J., Thakore, A. D., Farry, J. M., Truong, V. N., Bourdillon, A. T., Stapleton, L. M., Eskandari, A. n., Fairman, A. S., Hiesinger, W. n., Esipova, T. V., Patrick, W. L., Ji, K. n., Shizuru, J. A., Woo, Y. J. 2017; 3 (6): e1603078


    Coronary artery disease is one of the most common causes of death and disability, afflicting more than 15 million Americans. Although pharmacological advances and revascularization techniques have decreased mortality, many survivors will eventually succumb to heart failure secondary to the residual microvascular perfusion deficit that remains after revascularization. We present a novel system that rescues the myocardium from acute ischemia, using photosynthesis through intramyocardial delivery of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus. By using light rather than blood flow as a source of energy, photosynthetic therapy increases tissue oxygenation, maintains myocardial metabolism, and yields durable improvements in cardiac function during and after induction of ischemia. By circumventing blood flow entirely to provide tissue with oxygen and nutrients, this system has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the way ischemic heart disease is treated.

    View details for PubMedID 28630913

  • Biochemically engineered stromal cell-derived factor 1-alpha analog increases perfusion in the ischemic hind limb. Journal of vascular surgery Edwards, B. B., Fairman, A. S., Cohen, J. E., Macarthur, J. W., Goldstone, A. B., Woo, J. B., Hiesinger, W., Woo, Y. J. 2016; 64 (4): 1093-1099


    Despite promising therapeutic innovation over the last decade, peripheral arterial disease remains a prevalent morbidity, as many patients are still challenged with peripheral ischemia. We hypothesized that delivery of engineered stromal cell-derived factor 1-alpha (ESA) in an ischemic hind limb will yield significant improvement in perfusion.Male rats underwent right femoral artery ligation, and animals were randomized to receive a 100 μL injection of saline (n = 9) or 6 μg/kg dosage of equal volume of ESA (n = 12) into the ipsilateral quadriceps muscle. Both groups of animals were also given an intraperitoneal injection of 40 μg/kg of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF). Perfusion was quantified using a laser Doppler imaging device preoperatively, and on postoperative days 0, 7, and 14. Immunohistochemistry was performed to quantify angiogenesis on day 14, and an mRNA profile was evaluated for angiogenic and inflammatory markers.Compared with the saline/GMCSF group at day 14, the ESA/GMCSF-injected animals had greater reperfusion ratios (Saline/GMCSF, 0.600 ± 0.140 vs ESA/GMCSF, 0.900 ± 0.181; group effect P = .006; time effect P < .0001; group×time effect P < .0001), elevated capillary density (10×; Saline/GMCSF, 6.40 ± 2.01 vs ESA/GMCSF, 18.55 ± 5.30; P < .01), and increased mRNA levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (Saline/GMCSF [n = 6], 0.298 ± 0.205 vs ESA/GMCSF [n = 8], 0.456 ± 0.139; P = .03).Delivery of ESA significantly improves perfusion in a rat model of peripheral arterial disease via improved neovasculogenesis, a finding which may prove beneficial in the treatment strategy for this debilitating disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jvs.2015.06.140

    View details for PubMedID 26372192

  • Cell transplantation in heart failure: where do we stand in 2016? EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CARDIO-THORACIC SURGERY MacArthur, J. W., Goldstone, A. B., Cohen, J. E., Hiesinger, W., Woo, Y. 2016; 50 (3): 396–99

    View details for PubMedID 27587719

  • Isolation and trans-differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells into smooth muscle cells: Utility and applicability for cell-sheet engineering. Cytotherapy Shudo, Y., Cohen, J. E., Goldstone, A. B., MacArthur, J. W., Patel, J., Edwards, B. B., Hopkins, M. S., Steele, A. N., Joubert, L., Miyagawa, S., Sawa, Y., Woo, Y. J. 2016; 18 (4): 510-517


    Bone marrow (BM)-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have shown potential to differentiate into various cell types, including smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The extracellular matrix (ECM) represents an appealing and readily available source of SMCs for use in tissue engineering. In this study, we hypothesized that the ECM could be used to induce MSC differentiation to SMCs for engineered cell-sheet construction.Primary MSCs were isolated from the BM of Wistar rats, transferred and cultured on dishes coated with 3 different types of ECM: collagen type IV (Col IV), fibronectin (FN), and laminin (LM). Primary MSCs were also included as a control. The proportions of SMC (a smooth muscle actin [aSMA] and SM22a) and MSC markers were examined with flow cytometry and Western blotting, and cell proliferation rates were also quantified.Both FN and LM groups were able to induce differentiation of MSCs toward smooth muscle-like cell types, as evidenced by an increase in the proportion of SMC markers (aSMA; Col IV 42.3 ± 6.9%, FN 65.1 ± 6.5%, LM 59.3 ± 7.0%, Control 39.9 ± 3.1%; P = 0.02, SM22; Col IV 56.0 ± 7.7%, FN 74.2 ± 6.7%, LM 60.4 ± 8.7%, Control 44.9 ± 3.6%) and a decrease in that of MSC markers (CD105: Col IV 64.0 ± 5.2%, FN 57.6 ± 4.0%, LM 60.3 ± 7.0%, Control 85.3 ± 4.2%; P = 0.03). The LM group showed a decrease in overall cell proliferation, whereas FN and Col IV groups remained similar to control MSCs (Col IV, 9.0 ± 2.3%; FN, 9.8 ± 2.5%; LM, 4.3 ± 1.3%; Control, 9.8 ± 2.8%).Our findings indicate that ECM selection can guide differentiation of MSCs into the SMC lineage. Fibronectin preserved cellular proliferative capacity while yielding the highest proportion of differentiated SMCs, suggesting that FN-coated materials may be facilitate smooth muscle tissue engineering.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jcyt.2016.01.012

    View details for PubMedID 26971679

  • A Tissue-Engineered Chondrocyte Cell Sheet Induces Extracellular Matrix Modification to Enhance Ventricular Biomechanics and Attenuate Myocardial Stiffness in Ischemic Cardiomyopathy TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A Shudo, Y., Cohen, J. E., MacArthur, J. W., Goldstone, A. B., Otsuru, S., Trubelja, A., Patel, J., Edwards, B. B., Hung, G., Fairman, A. S., Brusalis, C., Hiesinger, W., Atluri, P., Hiraoka, A., Miyagawa, S., Sawa, Y., Woo, Y. J. 2015; 21 (19-20): 2515-2525


    There exists a substantial body of work describing cardiac support devices to mechanically support the left ventricle (LV); however, these devices lack biological effects. To remedy this, we implemented a cell sheet engineering approach utilizing chondrocytes, which in their natural environment produce a relatively elastic extracellular matrix (ECM) for a cushioning effect. Therefore, we hypothesized that a chondrocyte cell sheet applied to infarcted and borderzone myocardium will biologically enhance the ventricular ECM and increase elasticity to augment cardiac function in a model of ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM). Primary articular cartilage chondrocytes of Wistar rats were isolated and cultured on temperature-responsive culture dishes to generate cell sheets. A rodent ICM model was created by ligating the left anterior descending coronary artery. Rats were divided into two groups: cell sheet transplantation (1.0 × 10(7) cells/dish) and no treatment. The cell sheet was placed onto the surface of the heart covering the infarct and borderzone areas. At 4 weeks following treatment, the decreased fibrotic extension and increased elastic microfiber networks in the infarct and borderzone areas correlated with this technology's potential to stimulate ECM formation. The enhanced ventricular elasticity was further confirmed by the axial stretch test, which revealed that the cell sheet tended to attenuate tensile modulus, a parameter of stiffness. This translated to increased wall thickness in the infarct area, decreased LV volume, wall stress, mass, and improvement of LV function. Thus, the chondrocyte cell sheet strengthens the ventricular biomechanical properties by inducing the formation of elastic microfiber networks in ICM, resulting in attenuated myocardial stiffness and improved myocardial function.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/ten.tea.2014.0155

    View details for PubMedID 26154752