All animal work was compliant with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at North Carolina State University. This methodology was taken from our previous study (49). Briefly, rats were anesthetized with ketamine and were positioned right laterally on a sterile operating table. Their hearts were exposed by left thoracotomy, and their LAD coronary arteries were permanently ligated to produce an acute MI. Immediately after MI induction, one of the following randomized treatments was administered to each rat: (i) MI group: MI induction without any treatment; (ii) MI + MN group: MN patch was placed onto the surface of infarcted heart; (iii) MI + CSC group: CSCs (1 × 106) encapsulated in fibrin gel were placed onto the infarcted heart; (iv) MI + MN-CSC group: MN-CSCs patch containing 1 × 106 CSCs was placed onto the infarcted heart. After patch application with a gentle pressure by tweezer tips for 30 s, we applied fibrin glue on the MN side of the patch to aid adhesion.

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