ABSTRACT: Stimulating or maintaining the proliferative capacity of postnatal mammalian cardiomyocytes is a major challenge to cardiac regeneration. Previously, it is found that fetal cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) can promote neonatal rat cardiomyocyte proliferation in vitro better than neonatal or adult ECM. It is hypothesized that partial digestion of adult ECM (PD-ECM) would liberate less crosslinked components that promote cardiomyocyte proliferation, similar to fetal ECM. Neonatal rat cardiac cells are seeded onto substrates coated with adult rat cardiac ECM that has been solubilized in pepsin-HCl for 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, or 48 h. Cardiomyocyte proliferation and fold-change in numbers from 1 to 5 d are highest on 1 and 3 h PD-ECM compared to other conditions. Sarcomeres tend to mature on 24 and 48 h PD-ECM where low proliferation is observed. 3 h PD-ECM is primarily composed of Fibrillin-1, Fibrinogen, and Laminins while 48 h PD-ECM is dominated by Collagen I. Our results suggest that adult ECM retains regenerative cues that may be masked by more abundant, mature ECM components. PD-ECM provides a simple yet powerful approach to promoting cardiomyocyte proliferation.
Project description:A major limitation to cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies is the lack of proliferation of postnatal cardiomyocytes. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is altered during heart development, and studies suggest that it plays an important role in regulating myocyte proliferation. Here, the effects of fetal, neonatal and adult cardiac ECM on the expansion of neonatal rat ventricular cells in vitro are studied. At 24h, overall cell attachment was lowest on fetal ECM; however, ~80% of the cells were cardiomyocytes, while many non-myocytes attached to older ECM and poly-l-lysine controls. After 5 days, the cardiomyocyte population remained highest on fetal ECM, with a 4-fold increase in number. Significantly more cardiomyocytes stained positively for the mitotic marker phospho-histone H3 on fetal ECM compared with other substrates at 5 days, suggesting that proliferation may be a major mechanism of cardiomyocyte expansion on young ECM. Further study of the beneficial properties of early developmental aged cardiac ECM could advance the design of novel biomaterials aimed at promoting cardiac regeneration.
Project description:In this study we present a novel method for studying cellular traction force generation and mechanotransduction in the context of cardiac development. Rat hearts from three distinct stage of development (fetal, neonatal and adult) were isolated, decellularized and characterized via mechanical testing and protein compositional analysis. Stiffness increased ~2-fold between fetal and neonatal time points but not between neonatal and adult. Composition of structural extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins was significantly different between all three developmental ages. ECM that was solubilized via pepsin digestion was cross-linked into polyacrylamide gels of varying stiffness and traction force microscopy was used to assess the ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to generate traction stress against the substrates. The response to increasing stiffness was significantly different depending on the developmental age of the ECM. An investigation into early cardiac differentiation of MSCs demonstrated a dependence of the level of expression of early cardiac transcription factors on the composition of the complex ECM. In summary, this study found that complex ECM composition plays an important role in modulating a cell's ability to generate traction stress against a substrate, which is a significant component of mechanotransductive signaling.
Project description:Shortly after birth, muscle cells of the mammalian heart lose their ability to divide. Thus, they are unable to effectively replace dying cells in the injured heart. The recent discovery that the transcriptional coactivator Yes-associated protein (Yap) is necessary and sufficient for cardiomyocyte proliferation has gained considerable attention. However, the upstream regulators and signaling pathways that control Yap activity in the heart are poorly understood.To investigate the role of ?-catenins in the heart using cardiac-specific ?E- and ?T-catenin double knockout mice.We used 2 cardiac-specific Cre transgenes to delete both ?E-catenin (Ctnna1) and ?T-catenin (Ctnna3) genes either in the perinatal or in the adult heart. Perinatal depletion of ?-catenins increased cardiomyocyte number in the postnatal heart. Increased nuclear Yap and the cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 accompanied cardiomyocyte proliferation in the ?-catenin double knockout hearts. Fetal genes were increased in the ?-catenin double knockout hearts indicating a less mature cardiac gene expression profile. Knockdown of ?-catenins in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes also resulted in increased proliferation, which could be blocked by knockdown of Yap. Finally, inactivation of ?-catenins in the adult heart using an inducible Cre led to increased nuclear Yap and cardiomyocyte proliferation and improved contractility after myocardial infarction.These studies demonstrate that ?-catenins are critical regulators of Yap, a transcriptional coactivator essential for cardiomyocyte proliferation. Furthermore, we provide proof of concept that inhibiting ?-catenins might be a useful strategy to promote myocardial regeneration after injury.
Project description:Cardiomyocytes undergo dramatic changes during the fetal to neonatal transition stage to adapt to the new environment. The molecular and genetic mechanisms regulating these changes remain elusive. In this study, we showed Sema6D as a novel signaling molecule regulating perinatal cardiomyocyte proliferation and maturation. SEMA6D is a member of the Semaphorin family of signaling molecules. To reveal its function during cardiogenesis, we specifically inactivated Sema6D in embryonic cardiomyocytes using a conditional gene deletion approach. All mutant animals showed hypoplastic myocardial walls in neonatal hearts due to reduced cell proliferation. We further revealed that expression of MYCN and its downstream cell cycle regulators is impaired in late fetal hearts in which Sema6D is deleted, suggesting that SEMA6D acts through MYCN to regulate cardiomyocyte proliferation. In early postnatal mutant hearts, expression of adult forms of sarcomeric proteins is increased, while expression of embryonic forms is decreased. These data collectively suggest that SEMA6D is required to maintain late fetal/early neonatal cardiomyocytes at a proliferative and less mature status. Deletion of Sema6D in cardiomyocytes led to reduced proliferation and accelerated maturation. We further examined the consequence of these defects through echocardiographic analysis. Embryonic heart deletion of Sema6D significantly impaired the cardiac contraction of male adult hearts, while having a minor effect on female mutant hearts, suggesting that the effect of Sema6D-deletion in adult hearts is sex dependent.
Project description:Myeloid-derived growth factor (Mydgf), a paracrine protein secreted by bone marrow-derived monocytes and macrophages, was found to protect against cardiac injury following myocardial infarction (MI) in adult mice. We speculated that Mydgf might improve heart function via myocardial regeneration, which is essential for discovering the target to reverse heart failure. Methods: Two genetic mouse lines were used: global Mydgf knockout (Mydgf-KO) and Mydgf-EGFP mice. Two models of cardiac injury, apical resection was performed in neonatal and MI was performed in adult mice. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, western blot and flow cytometry were performed to study the protein expression. Immunofluorescence was performed to detect the proliferation of cardiomyocytes. Heart regeneration and cardiac function were evaluated by Masson's staining and echocardiography, respectively. RNA sequencing was employed to identify the key involved in Mydgf-induced cardiomyocyte proliferation. Mydgf recombinant protein injection was performed as a therapy for cardiac repair post MI in adult mice. Results: Mydgf expression could be significantly induced in neonatal mouse hearts after cardiac injury. Unexpectedly, we found that Mydgf was predominantly expressed by endothelial cells rather than macrophages in injured neonatal hearts. Mydgf deficiency impeded neonatal heart regeneration and injury-induced cardiomyocyte proliferation. Mydgf recombinant protein promoted primary mouse cardiomyocyte proliferation. Employing RNA sequencing and functional verification, we demonstrated that c-Myc/FoxM1 pathway mediated Mydgf-induced cardiomyocyte expansion. Mydgf recombinant protein improved cardiac function in adult mice after MI injury with inducing cardiomyocyte proliferation. Conclusion: Mydgf promotes cardiomyocyte proliferation by activating c-Myc/FoxM1 pathway and improves heart regeneration both in neonatal and adult mice after cardiac injury, providing a potential target to reverse cardiac remodeling and heart failure.
Project description:Zebrafish can efficiently regenerate their heart through cardiomyocyte proliferation. In contrast, mammalian cardiomyocytes stop proliferating shortly after birth, limiting the regenerative capacity of the postnatal mammalian heart. Therefore, if the endogenous potential of postnatal cardiomyocyte proliferation could be enhanced, it could offer a promising future therapy for heart failure patients. Here, we set out to systematically identify small molecules triggering postnatal cardiomyocyte proliferation. By screening chemical compound libraries utilizing a Fucci-based system for assessing cell cycle stages, we identified carbacyclin as an inducer of postnatal cardiomyocyte proliferation. In vitro, carbacyclin induced proliferation of neonatal and adult mononuclear rat cardiomyocytes via a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?)/PDK1/p308Akt/GSK3?/?-catenin pathway. Inhibition of PPAR? reduced cardiomyocyte proliferation during zebrafish heart regeneration. Notably, inducible cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression of constitutively active PPAR? as well as treatment with PPAR? agonist after myocardial infarction in mice induced cell cycle progression in cardiomyocytes, reduced scarring, and improved cardiac function. Collectively, we established a cardiomyocyte proliferation screening system and present a new drugable target with promise for the treatment of cardiac pathologies caused by cardiomyocyte loss.
Project description:RATIONALE:In response to injury, the rodent heart is capable of virtually full regeneration via cardiomyocyte proliferation early in life. This regenerative capacity, however, is diminished as early as 1 week postnatal and remains lost in adulthood. The mechanisms that dictate postinjury cardiomyocyte proliferation early in life remain unclear. OBJECTIVE:To delineate the role of miR-34a, a regulator of age-associated physiology, in regulating cardiac regeneration secondary to myocardial infarction (MI) in neonatal and adult mouse hearts. METHODS AND RESULTS:Cardiac injury was induced in neonatal and adult hearts through experimental MI via coronary ligation. Adult hearts demonstrated overt cardiac structural and functional remodeling, whereas neonatal hearts maintained full regenerative capacity and cardiomyocyte proliferation and recovered to normal levels within 1-week time. As early as 1 week postnatal, miR-34a expression was found to have increased and was maintained at high levels throughout the lifespan. Intriguingly, 7 days after MI, miR-34a levels further increased in the adult but not neonatal hearts. Delivery of a miR-34a mimic to neonatal hearts prohibited both cardiomyocyte proliferation and subsequent cardiac recovery post MI. Conversely, locked nucleic acid-based anti-miR-34a treatment diminished post-MI miR-34a upregulation in adult hearts and significantly improved post-MI remodeling. In isolated cardiomyocytes, we found that miR-34a directly regulated cell cycle activity and death via modulation of its targets, including Bcl2, Cyclin D1, and Sirt1. CONCLUSIONS:miR-34a is a critical regulator of cardiac repair and regeneration post MI in neonatal hearts. Modulation of miR-34a may be harnessed for cardiac repair in adult myocardium.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adult mammalian hearts have a limited ability to generate new cardiomyocytes. Proliferation of existing adult cardiomyocytes (ACMs) is a potential source of new cardiomyocytes. Understanding the fundamental biology of ACM proliferation could be of great clinical significance for treating myocardial infarction (MI). We aim to understand the process and regulation of ACM proliferation and its role in new cardiomyocyte formation of post-MI mouse hearts. METHODS:?-Actin-green fluorescent protein transgenic mice and fate-mapping Myh6-MerCreMer-tdTomato/lacZ mice were used to trace the fate of ACMs. In a coculture system with neonatal rat ventricular myocytes, ACM proliferation was documented with clear evidence of cytokinesis observed with time-lapse imaging. Cardiomyocyte proliferation in the adult mouse post-MI heart was detected by cell cycle markers and 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine incorporation analysis. Echocardiography was used to measure cardiac function, and histology was performed to determine infarction size. RESULTS:In vitro, mononucleated and bi/multinucleated ACMs were able to proliferate at a similar rate (7.0%) in the coculture. Dedifferentiation proceeded ACM proliferation, which was followed by redifferentiation. Redifferentiation was essential to endow the daughter cells with cardiomyocyte contractile function. Intercellular propagation of Ca2+ from contracting neonatal rat ventricular myocytes into ACM daughter cells was required to activate the Ca2+-dependent calcineurin-nuclear factor of activated T-cell signaling pathway to induce ACM redifferentiation. The properties of neonatal rat ventricular myocyte Ca2+ transients influenced the rate of ACM redifferentiation. Hypoxia impaired the function of gap junctions by dephosphorylating its component protein connexin 43, the major mediator of intercellular Ca2+ propagation between cardiomyocytes, thereby impairing ACM redifferentiation. In vivo, ACM proliferation was found primarily in the MI border zone. An ischemia-resistant connexin 43 mutant enhanced the redifferentiation of ACM-derived new cardiomyocytes after MI and improved cardiac function. CONCLUSIONS:Mature ACMs can reenter the cell cycle and form new cardiomyocytes through a 3-step process: dedifferentiation, proliferation, and redifferentiation. Intercellular Ca2+ signal from neighboring functioning cardiomyocytes through gap junctions induces the redifferentiation process. This novel mechanism contributes to new cardiomyocyte formation in post-MI hearts in mammals.
Project description:Despite recent advances in biomimetic substrates, there is still only limited understanding of how the extracellular matrix (ECM) functions in the maintenance of cardiomyocyte (CM) phenotype. In this study, we designed electrospun substrates inspired by morphologic features of non-failing and failing human heart ECM, and examined how these substrates regulate phenotypes of adult and neonatal rat ventricular CMs (ARVM and NRVM, respectively). We found that poly(?-caprolactone) fiber substrates designed to mimic the organized ECM of a non-failing human heart maintained healthy CM phenotype (evidenced by cell morphology, organized actin/myomesin bands and expression of ?-MYH7 and SCN5A.1 and SCN5A.2) compared to both failing heart ECM-mimetic substrates and tissue culture plates. Moreover, culture of ARVMs and NRVMs on aligned substrates showed differences in m- and z-line alignment; with ARVMs aligning parallel to the ECM fibers and the NRVMs aligning perpendicular to the fibers. The results provide new insight into cardiac tissue engineering by illustrating the importance models that mimic the cardiac ECM microenvironment in vitro.
Project description:Adult mammalian cardiomyocytes exit the cell cycle during the neonatal period, commensurate with the loss of regenerative capacity in adult mammalian hearts. We established conditions for long-term culture of adult mouse cardiomyocytes that are genetically labeled with fluorescence. This technique permits reliable analyses of proliferation of pre-existing cardiomyocytes without complications from cardiomyocyte marker expression loss due to dedifferentiation or significant contribution from cardiac progenitor cell expansion and differentiation in culture. Using this system, we took a candidate gene approach to screen for fetal-specific proliferative gene programs that can induce proliferation of adult mouse cardiomyocytes. Using pooled gene delivery and subtractive gene elimination, we identified a novel functional interaction between E2f Transcription Factor 2 (E2f2) and Brain Expressed X-Linked (Bex)/Transcription elongation factor A-like (Tceal) superfamily members Bex1 and Tceal8. Specifically, Bex1 and Tceal8 both preserved cell viability during E2f2-induced cell cycle re-entry. Although Tceal8 inhibited E2f2-induced S-phase re-entry, Bex1 facilitated DNA synthesis while inhibiting cell death. In sum, our study provides a valuable method for adult cardiomyocyte proliferation research and suggests that Bex family proteins may function in modulating cell proliferation and death decisions during cardiomyocyte development and maturation.