AimsFew studies have assessed the effects of cell therapy in non-ischaemic cardiomyopathies which, however, contribute to a large number of cardiac failures. Assuming that such conditions are best suited for a global delivery of cells, we assessed the effects of epicardially delivered adipose tissue-derived stroma cell (ADSC) sheets in a mouse model of dilated cardiomyopathy based on cardiac-specific and tamoxifen-inducible invalidation of serum response factor.Methods and resultsThree weeks after tamoxifen administration, the function of the left ventricle (LV) was assessed by echocardiography. Twenty-nine mice were then allocated to control (n = 9, non-transgenic), sham (n = 10, transgenic non-treated), and treated (n = 10, transgenic) groups. In the treated group, 3 × 106 allogeneic ADSCs were cultured for 2 days onto temperature-responsive polymers and the generated sheets were then transplanted over the surface of the heart. In 10 additional mice, the sheet was made of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labelled ADSCs to track cell fate. Function, engraftment, and fibrosis were blindly assessed after 3 weeks. In the non-treated group, fractional shortening declined compared with baseline, whereas the sheet application resulted in its stabilization. This correlated with a lesser degree of LV remodelling, as LV end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters did not differ from baseline values. Many GFP+ cells were identified in the epicardial graft and in the myocardium. Treated animals also displayed a reduced expression of the stress-induced atrial natriuretic factor and beta-myosin heavy chain genes. These protective effects were also accompanied by a reduction of myocardial fibrosis.ConclusionThese results strongly suggest the functional relevance of epicardially delivered cell-seeded biomaterials to non-ischaemic heart failure. © 2013 The Author.