C-kit expression identifies cardiovascular precursors in the neonatal heart.
ABSTRACT: Directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells indicates that mesodermal lineages in the mammalian heart (cardiac, endothelial, and smooth muscle cells) develop from a common, multipotent cardiovascular precursor. To isolate and characterize the lineage potential of a resident pool of cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPcs), we developed BAC transgenic mice in which enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is placed under control of the c-kit locus (c-kit(BAC)-EGFP mice). Discrete c-kit-EGFP(+) cells were observed at different stages of differentiation in embryonic hearts, increasing in number to a maximum at about postnatal day (PN) 2; thereafter, EGFP(+) cells declined and were rarely observed in the adult heart. EGFP(+) cells purified from PN 0-5 hearts were nestin(+) and expanded in culture; 67% of cells were fluorescent after 9 days. Purified cells differentiated into endothelial, cardiac, and smooth muscle cells, and differentiation could be directed by specific growth factors. CPc-derived cardiac myocytes displayed rhythmic beating and action potentials characteristic of multiple cardiac cell types, similar to ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Single-cell dilution studies confirmed the potential of individual CPcs to form all 3 cardiovascular lineages. In adult hearts, cryoablation resulted in c-kit-EGFP(+) expression, peaking 7 days postcryolesion. Expression occurred in endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the revascularizing infarct, and in terminally differentiated cardiomyocytes in the border zone surrounding the infarct. Thus, c-kit expression marks CPc in the neonatal heart that are capable of directed differentiation in vitro; however, c-kit expression in cardiomyocytes in the adult heart after injury does not identify cardiac myogenesis.
Project description:Cell-based cardiac therapy is a promising therapeutic strategy to restore heart function after myocardial infarction (MI). However, the cell type selection and ensuing effects remain controversial. Here, we intramyocardially injected Isl1+ cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) derived from EGFP/luciferase double-tagged mouse embryonic stem (dt-mES) cells with vehicle (fibrin gel) or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) into the infarcted area in nude mice to assess the contribution of CPCs to the recovery of cardiac function post-MI. Our results showed that Isl1+ CPCs differentiated normally into three cardiac lineages (cardiomyocytes (CMs), endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells) both on cell culture plates and in fibrin gel. Cell retention was significantly increased when the transplanted cells were injected with vehicle. Importantly, 28 days after injection, CPCs were observed to differentiate into CMs within the infarcted area. Moreover, numerous CD31+ endothelial cells derived from endogenous revascularization and differentiation of the injected CPCs were detected. SMMHC-, Ki67- and CX-43-positive cells were identified in the injected CPC population, further demonstrating the proliferation, differentiation and integration of the transplanted CPCs in host cells. Furthermore, animal hearts injected with CPCs showed increased angiogenesis, decreased infarct size, and improved heart function. In conclusion, our studies showed that Isl1+ CPCs, when combined with a suitable vehicle, can produce notable therapeutic effects in the infarcted heart, suggesting that CPCs might be an ideal cell source for cardiac therapy.
Project description:An analysis of the clonality of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) and myocyte turnover in vivo requires genetic tagging of the undifferentiated cells so that the clonal marker of individual mother cells is traced in the specialized progeny. CPC niches in the atria and apex of the mouse heart were infected with a lentivirus carrying EGFP, and the destiny of the tagged cells was determined 1-5 months later. A common integration site was identified in isolated CPCs, cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells (ECs), and fibroblasts, documenting CPC self-renewal and multipotentiality and the clonal origin of the differentiated cell populations. Subsequently, the degree of EGFP-lentiviral infection of CPCs was evaluated 2-4 days after injection, and the number of myocytes expressing the reporter gene was measured 6 months later. A BrdU pulse-chasing protocol was also introduced as an additional assay for the analysis of myocyte turnover. Over a period of 6 months, each EGFP-positive CPC divided approximately eight times generating 230 cardiomyocytes; this value was consistent with the number of newly formed cells labeled by BrdU. To determine whether, human CPCs (hCPCs) are self-renewing and multipotent, these cells were transduced with the EGFP-lentivirus and injected after acute myocardial infarction in immunosuppressed rats. hCPCs, myocytes, ECs, and fibroblasts collected from the regenerated myocardium showed common viral integration sites in the human genome. Thus, our results indicate that the adult heart contains a pool of resident stem cells that regulate cardiac homeostasis and repair.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) hold great promise for cardiac regeneration but are susceptible to various concerns. Recently, salutary effects of stem cells have been connected to exosome secretion. ESCs have the ability to produce exosomes, however, their effect in the context of the heart is unknown.Determine the effect of ESC-derived exosome for the repair of ischemic myocardium and whether c-kit(+) cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) function can be enhanced with ESC exosomes.This study demonstrates that mouse ESC-derived exosomes (mES Ex) possess ability to augment function in infarcted hearts. mES Ex enhanced neovascularization, cardiomyocyte survival, and reduced fibrosis post infarction consistent with resurgence of cardiac proliferative response. Importantly, mES Ex augmented CPC survival, proliferation, and cardiac commitment concurrent with increased c-kit(+) CPCs in vivo 8 weeks after in vivo transfer along with formation of bonafide new cardiomyocytes in the ischemic heart. miRNA array revealed significant enrichment of miR290-295 cluster and particularly miR-294 in ESC exosomes. The underlying basis for the beneficial effect of mES Ex was tied to delivery of ESC specific miR-294 to CPCs promoting increased survival, cell cycle progression, and proliferation.mES Ex provide a novel cell-free system that uses the immense regenerative power of ES cells while avoiding the risks associated with direct ES or ES-derived cell transplantation and risk of teratomas. ESC exosomes possess cardiac regeneration ability and modulate both cardiomyocyte and CPC-based repair programs in the heart.
Project description:Striated preferentially expressed gene (Speg) is a member of the myosin light chain kinase family. We previously showed that disruption of the Speg gene locus in mice leads to a dilated cardiomyopathy with immature-appearing cardiomyocytes. Here we show that cardiomyopathy of Speg(-/-) mice arises as a consequence of defects in cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) function, and that neonatal cardiac dysfunction can be rescued by in utero injections of wild-type CPCs into Speg(-/-) foetal hearts. CPCs harvested from Speg(-/-) mice display defects in clone formation, growth and differentiation into cardiomyocytes in vitro, which are associated with cardiac dysfunction in vivo. In utero administration of wild-type CPCs into the hearts of Speg(-/-) mice results in CPC engraftment, differentiation and myocardial maturation, which rescues Speg(-/-) mice from neonatal heart failure and increases the number of live births by fivefold. We propose that in utero administration of CPCs may have future implications for treatment of neonatal heart diseases.
Project description:Cardiac progenitor cells are a potential source of cell therapy for heart failure. Although recent studies have shown that transplantation of cardiac stem/progenitor cells improves function of infarcted hearts, the precise mechanisms of the improvement in function remain poorly understood. The present study demonstrates that transplantation of sheets of clonally expanded stem cell antigen 1-positive (Sca-1-positive) cells (CPCs) ameliorates cardiac dysfunction after myocardial infarction in mice. CPC efficiently differentiated into cardiomyocytes and secreted various cytokines, including soluble VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1). Secreted sVCAM-1 induced migration of endothelial cells and CPCs and prevented cardiomyocyte death from oxidative stress through activation of Akt, ERK, and p38 MAPK. Treatment with antibodies specific for very late antigen-4 (VLA-4), a receptor of sVCAM-1, abolished the effects of CPC-derived conditioned medium on cardiomyocytes and CPCs in vitro and inhibited angiogenesis, CPC migration, and survival in vivo, which led to attenuation of improved cardiac function following transplantation of CPC sheets. These results suggest that CPC transplantation improves cardiac function after myocardial infarction through cardiomyocyte differentiation and paracrine mechanisms mediated via the sVCAM-1/VLA-4 signaling pathway.
Project description:Cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPCs) expressing the ISL1-LIM-homeodomain transcription factor contribute developmentally to cardiomyocytes in all 4 chambers of the heart. Here, we show that ISL1-CPCs can be applied to myocardial regeneration following injury. We used a rapid 3D methylcellulose approach to form murine and human ISL1-CPC spheroids that engrafted after myocardial infarction in murine hearts, where they differentiated into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, integrating into the myocardium and forming new blood vessels. ISL1-CPC spheroid-treated mice exhibited reduced infarct area and increased blood vessel formation compared with control animals. Moreover, left ventricular (LV) contractile function was significantly better in mice transplanted with ISL1-CPCs 4 weeks after injury than that in control animals. These results provide proof-of-concept of a cardiac repair strategy employing ISL1-CPCs that, based on our previous lineage-tracing studies, are committed to forming heart tissue, in combination with a robust methylcellulose spheroid-based delivery approach.
Project description:There are a limited number of therapies available to prevent heart failure following myocardial infarction. One novel therapy that is currently being pursued is the implantation of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs); however, their responses to oxidative stress during differentiation have yet to be elucidated. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment on CPC differentiation in vitro, as well as the effect of H2O2 preconditioning before implantation following ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. CPCs were isolated and cloned from adult rat hearts, and then cultured in the absence or presence of H2O2 for 2 or 5 days. CPC survival was assessed with Annexin V, and cellular differentiation was evaluated through mRNA expression for cardiogenic genes. We found that 100??M H2O2 decreased serum withdrawal-induced apoptosis by at least 45% following both 2 and 5 days of treatment. Moreover, 100??M H2O2 treatment for 2 days significantly increased endothelial and smooth muscle markers compared to time-matched untreated CPCs. However, continued H2O2 treatment significantly decreased these markers. Left ventricular cardiac function was assessed 28 days after I/R and I/R with the implantation of Luciferase/GFP(+) CPCs, which were preconditioned with 100??M H2O2 for 2 days. Hearts implanted with Luciferase/GFP(+) CPCs had significant improvement in both positive and negative dP/dT over I/R. Furthermore, cardiac fibrosis was significantly decreased in the preconditioned cells versus both I/R alone and I/R with control cells. We also observed a significant increase in endothelial cell density in the preconditioned CPC hearts compared to untreated CPC hearts, which also coincided with a higher density of Luciferase(+) vessels. These findings suggest that preconditioning of CPCs with H2O2 for 2 days stimulates neoangiogenesis in the peri-infarct area following I/R injury and could be a viable therapeutic option to prevent heart failure.
Project description:Adult cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) display a low capacity to differentiate into cardiomyocytes in injured hearts, strongly limiting the regenerative capacity of the mammalian myocardium. To identify new mechanisms regulating CPC differentiation, we used primary and clonally expanded Sca-1+ CPCs from murine adult hearts in homotypic culture or coculture with cardiomyocytes. Expression kinetics analysis during homotypic culture differentiation showed downregulation of Wnt target genes concomitant with increased expression of the Wnt antagonist, Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (Wif1), which is necessary to stimulate CPC differentiation. We show that the expression of the Wif1 gene is repressed by DNA methylation and regulated by the de novo DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a. In addition, miR-29a is upregulated early during CPC differentiation and downregulates Dnmt3a expression, thereby decreasing Wif1 gene methylation and increasing the efficiency of differentiation of Sca-1+ CPCs in vitro. Extending these findings in vivo, transient silencing of Dnmt3a in CPCs subsequently injected in the border zone of infarcted mouse hearts improved CPC differentiation in situ and remote cardiac remodeling. In conclusion, miR-29a and Dnmt3a epigenetically regulate CPC differentiation through Wnt inhibition. Remote effects on cardiac remodeling support paracrine signaling beyond the local injection site, with potential therapeutic interest for cardiac repair.
Project description:Cardioprotective effects of Pim-1 kinase have been previously reported but the underlying mechanistic basis may involve a combination of cellular and molecular mechanisms that remain unresolved. The elucidation of the mechanistic basis for Pim-1 mediated cardioprotection provides important insights for designing therapeutic interventional strategies to treat heart disease.Effects of cardiac-specific Pim-1 kinase expression on the cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) population were examined to determine whether Pim-1 mediates beneficial effects through augmenting CPC activity.Transgenic mice created with cardiac-specific Pim-1 overexpression (Pim-wt) exhibit enhanced Pim-1 expression in both cardiomyocytes and CPCs, both of which show increased proliferative activity assessed using 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), Ki-67, and c-Myc relative to nontransgenic controls. However, the total number of CPCs was not increased in the Pim-wt hearts during normal postnatal growth or after infarction challenge. These results suggest that Pim-1 overexpression leads to asymmetric division resulting in maintenance of the CPC population. Localization and quantitation of cell fate determinants Numb and alpha-adaptin by confocal microscopy were used to assess frequency of asymmetric division in the CPC population. Polarization of Numb in mitotic phospho-histone positive cells demonstrates asymmetric division in 65% of the CPC population in hearts of Pim-wt mice versus 26% in nontransgenic hearts after infarction challenge. Similarly, Pim-wt hearts had fewer cells with uniform alpha-adaptin staining indicative of symmetrically dividing CPCs, with 36% of the CPCs versus 73% in nontransgenic sections.These findings define a mechanistic basis for enhanced myocardial regeneration in transgenic mice overexpressing Pim-1 kinase.
Project description:We tested the hypothesis that induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac progenitor cells (iPSC-CPCs) are less able to adhere to the extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from failing human hearts with dilated cardiomyopathy compared to nonfailing human heart ECM. We also hypothesized that morphological development, cell beating rates, and mRNA levels of Nkx2.5 and cardiac troponin T would be altered after culturing the iPSC-CPCs on the failing heart ECM under cardiomyocyte differentiation conditions. We used microscopy to distinguish between adhered and unadhered cells, and to determine morphological development and cell beating. We used qPCR to determine mRNA levels. iPSC-CPCs show a significantly reduced ability to adhere to the ECM of failing hearts and higher expression of Nkx2.5 mRNA. However, morphological development, cell beating rates, and cardiac troponin T levels were not significantly altered in the cells cultured on the failing heart ECM. Our study shows that the failing heart ECM from patients with dilated cardiomyopathy impairs initial iPSC-CPC adhesion and may have a modest effect on the ability of the cells to transdifferentiate into cardiomyocytes.