Cardiac Progenitor Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Reduce Infarct Size and Associate with Increased Cardiovascular Cell Proliferation.
ABSTRACT: Cell transplantation studies have shown that injection of progenitor cells can improve cardiac function after myocardial infarction (MI). Transplantation of human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) results in an increased ejection fraction, but survival and integration are low. Therefore, paracrine factors including extracellular vesicles (EVs) are likely to contribute to the beneficial effects. We investigated the contribution of EVs by transplanting hCPCs with reduced EV secretion. Interestingly, these hCPCs were unable to reduce infarct size post-MI. Moreover, injection of hCPC-EVs did significantly reduce infarct size. Analysis of EV uptake showed cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells primarily positive and a higher Ki67 expression in these cell types. Yes-associated protein (YAP), a proliferation marker associated with Ki67, was also increased in the entire infarcted area. In summary, our data suggest that EV secretion is the driving force behind the short-term beneficial effect of hCPC transplantation on cardiac recovery after MI.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human cardiac progenitor cells have demonstrated great potential for myocardial repair in small and large animals, but robust methods for longitudinal assessment of their engraftment in humans is not yet readily available. In this study, we sought to optimize and evaluate the use of positron emission tomography (PET) reporter gene imaging for monitoring human cardiac progenitor cell (hCPC) transplantation in a mouse model of myocardial infarction. METHODS AND RESULTS:hCPCs were isolated and expanded from human myocardial samples and stably transduced with herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (TK) PET reporter gene. Thymidine kinase-expressing hCPCs were characterized in vitro and transplanted into murine myocardial infarction models (n=57). Cardiac echocardiographic, magnetic resonance imaging and pressure-volume loop analyses revealed improvement in left ventricular contractile function 2 weeks after transplant (hCPC versus phosphate-buffered saline, P<0.03). Noninvasive PET imaging was used to track hCPC fate over a 4-week time period, demonstrating a substantial decline in surviving cells. Importantly, early cell engraftment as assessed by PET was found to predict subsequent functional improvement, implying a "dose-effect" relationship. We isolated the transplanted cells from recipient myocardium by laser capture microdissection for in vivo transcriptome analysis. Our results provide direct evidence that hCPCs augment cardiac function after their transplantation into ischemic myocardium through paracrine secretion of growth factors. CONCLUSIONS:PET reporter gene imaging can provide important diagnostic and prognostic information regarding the ultimate success of hCPC treatment for myocardial infarction.
Project description:Congenital heart defects are present in 8 of 1000 newborns and palliative surgical therapy has increased survival. Despite improved outcomes, many children develop reduced cardiac function and heart failure requiring transplantation. Human cardiac progenitor cell (hCPC) therapy has potential to repair the pediatric myocardium through release of reparative factors, but therapy suffers from limited hCPC retention and functionality. Decellularized cardiac extracellular matrix hydrogel (cECM) improves heart function in animals, and human trials are ongoing. In the present study, a 3D-bioprinted patch containing cECM for delivery of pediatric hCPCs is developed. Cardiac patches are printed with bioinks composed of cECM, hCPCs, and gelatin methacrylate (GelMA). GelMA-cECM bioinks print uniformly with a homogeneous distribution of cECM and hCPCs. hCPCs maintain >75% viability and incorporation of cECM within patches results in a 30-fold increase in cardiogenic gene expression of hCPCs compared to hCPCs grown in pure GelMA patches. Conditioned media from GelMA-cECM patches show increased angiogenic potential (>2-fold) over GelMA alone, as seen by improved endothelial cell tube formation. Finally, patches are retained on rat hearts and show vascularization over 14 d in vivo. This work shows the successful bioprinting and implementation of cECM-hCPC patches for potential use in repairing damaged myocardium.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) may promote myocardial regeneration in adult ischemic myocardium. The regenerative capacity of hCPCs in young patients with nonischemic congenital heart defects for potential use in congenital heart defect repair warrants exploration. METHODS AND RESULTS:Human right atrial specimens were obtained during routine congenital cardiac surgery across 3 groups: neonates (age, <30 days), infants (age, 1 month to 2 years), and children (age, >2 to ?13 years). C-kit(+) hCPCs were 3-fold higher in neonates than in children >2 years of age. hCPC proliferation was greatest during the neonatal period as evidenced by c-kit(+) Ki67(+) expression but decreased with age. hCPC differentiation capacity was also greatest in neonatal right atrium as evidenced by c-kit(+), NKX2-5(+), NOTCH1(+), and NUMB(+) expression. Despite the age-dependent decline in resident hCPCs, we isolated and expanded right atrium-derived CPCs from all patients (n=103) across all ages and diagnoses using the cardiosphere method. Intact cardiospheres contained a mix of heart-derived cell subpopulations that included cardiac progenitor cells expressing c-kit(+), Islet-1, and supporting cells. The number of c-kit(+)-expressing cells was highest in human cardiosphere-derived cells (hCDCs) grown from neonatal and infant right atrium. Furthermore, hCDCs could differentiate into diverse cardiovascular lineages by in vitro differentiation assays. Transplanted hCDCs promoted greater myocardial regeneration and functional improvement in infarcted myocardium than transplanted cardiac fibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS:Resident hCPCs are most abundant in the neonatal period and rapidly decrease over time. hCDCs can be reproducibly isolated and expanded from young human myocardial samples regardless of age or diagnosis. hCPCs are functional and have potential in congenital cardiac repair.
Project description:The positive effects of therapeutic human allogeneic cardiac stem/progenitor cells (hCPC) in terms of cardiac repair/regeneration are very likely mediated by paracrine effects. Our previous studies revealed the advantageous immune interactions of allogeneic hCPC and proposed them as part of the positive paracrine effects occurring upon their application postmyocardial infarction (MI). Currently, extracellular vesicles/exosomes (EV/Exs) released by stem/progenitor cells are also proposed as major mediators of paracrine effects of therapeutic cells. Along this line, we evaluated contribution of EV/Exs released by therapeutic hCPC to the benefit of their successful allogeneic clinical application. Through tailored allogeneic in vitro human assay models mimicking the clinical setting, we demonstrate that hCPC-released EV/Exs were rapidly and efficiently up-taken by chief cellular actors of cardiac repair/regeneration. This promoted MAPK/Erk1/2 activation, migration, and proliferation of human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-mismatched hCPC, mimicking endogenous progenitor cells and cardiomyocytes, and enhanced endothelial cell migration, growth, and organization into tube-like structures through activation of several signaling pathways. EV/Exs also acted as pro-survival stimuli for HLA-mismatched monocytes tuning their phenotype toward an intermediate anti-inflammatory pro-angiogenic phenotype. Thus, while positively impacting the intrinsic regenerative and angiogenic programs, EV/Exs released by therapeutic allogeneic hCPC can also actively contribute to shaping MI-inflammatory environment, which could strengthen the benefits of hCPC allogeneic interactions. Collectively, our data might forecast the application of allogeneic hCPC followed by their cell-free EV/Exs as a strategy that will not only elicit the cell-contact mediated reparative/regenerative immune response but also have the desired long-lasting effects through the EV/Exs. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2019;8:911&924.
Project description:The goal of this study was to demonstrate the enhancement of human cardiac progenitor cell (hCPC) reparative and regenerative potential by genetic modification for the treatment of myocardial infarction.Regenerative potential of stem cells to repair acute infarction is limited. Improved hCPC survival, proliferation, and differentiation into functional myocardium will increase efficacy and advance translational implementation of cardiac regeneration.hCPCs isolated from the myocardium of heart failure patients undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation were engineered to express green fluorescent protein (hCPCe) or Pim-1-GFP (hCPCeP). Functional tests of hCPC regenerative potential were performed with immunocompromised mice by using intramyocardial adoptive transfer injection after infarction. Myocardial structure and function were monitored by echocardiographic and hemodynamic assessment for 20 weeks after delivery. hCPCe and hCPCeP expressing luciferase were observed by using bioluminescence imaging to noninvasively track persistence.hCPCeP exhibited augmentation of reparative potential relative to hCPCe control cells, as shown by significantly increased proliferation coupled with amelioration of infarction injury and increased hemodynamic performance at 20 weeks post-transplantation. Concurrent with enhanced cardiac structure and function, hCPCeP demonstrated increased cellular engraftment and differentiation with improved vasculature and reduced infarct size. Enhanced persistence of hCPCeP versus hCPCe was revealed by bioluminescence imaging at up to 8 weeks post-delivery.Genetic engineering of hCPCs with Pim-1 enhanced repair of damaged myocardium. Ex vivo gene delivery to modify stem cells has emerged as a viable option addressing current limitations in the field. This study demonstrates that efficacy of hCPCs from the failing myocardium can be safely and significantly enhanced through expression of Pim-1 kinase, setting the stage for use of engineered cells in pre-clinical settings.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Numerous studies from different labs around the world report human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) as having a role in myocardial repair upon ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, mainly through auto/paracrine signaling. Even though these cell populations are already being investigated in cell transplantation-based clinical trials, the mechanisms underlying their response are still poorly understood. METHODS:To further investigate hCPC regenerative process, we established the first in vitro human heterotypic model of myocardial I/R injury using hCPCs and human-induced pluripotent cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). The co-culture model was established using transwell inserts and evaluated in both ischemia and reperfusion phases regarding secretion of key cytokines, hiPSC-CM viability, and hCPC proliferation. hCPC proteome in response to I/R was further characterized using advanced liquid chromatography mass spectrometry tools. RESULTS:This model recapitulates hallmarks of I/R, namely hiPSC-CM death upon insult, protective effect of hCPCs on hiPSC-CM viability (37.6% higher vs hiPSC-CM mono-culture), and hCPC proliferation (approximately threefold increase vs hCPCs mono-culture), emphasizing the importance of paracrine communication between these two populations. In particular, in co-culture supernatant upon injury, we report higher angiogenic functionality as well as a significant increase in the CXCL6 secretion rate, suggesting an important role of this chemokine in myocardial regeneration. hCPC whole proteome analysis allowed us to propose new pathways in the hCPC-mediated regenerative process, including cell cycle regulation, proliferation through EGF signaling, and reactive oxygen species detoxification. CONCLUSION:This work contributes with new insights into hCPC biology in response to I/R, and the model established constitutes an important tool to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the myocardial regenerative process.
Project description:RATIONALE:Autologous stem cell therapy using human c-Kit+ cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) is a promising therapeutic approach for treatment of heart failure (HF). However, hCPCs derived from aged patients with HF with genetic predispositions and comorbidities of chronic diseases exhibit poor proliferative and migratory capabilities, which impair overall reparative potential for injured myocardium. Therefore, empowering functionally compromised hCPCs with proregenerative molecules ex vivo is crucial for improving the therapeutic outcome in patients with HF. OBJECTIVE:To improve hCPC proliferation and migration responses that are critical for regeneration by targeting proregenerative P2Y2 nucleotide receptor (P2Y2R) activated by extracellular ATP and UTP molecules released following injury/stress. METHODS AND RESULTS:c-Kit+ hCPCs were isolated from cardiac tissue of patients with HF undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation surgery. Correlations between P2 nucleotide receptor expression and hCPC growth kinetics revealed downregulation of select P2 receptors, including P2Y2R, in slow-growing hCPCs compared with fast growers. hCPC proliferation and migration significantly improved by overexpressing or stimulating P2Y2R. Mechanistically, P2Y2R-induced proliferation and migration were dependent on activation of YAP (yes-associated protein)-the downstream effector of Hippo signaling pathway. CONCLUSIONS:Proliferation and migration of functionally impaired hCPCs are enhanced by P2Y2R-mediated YAP activation, revealing a novel link between extracellular nucleotides released during injury/stress and Hippo signaling-a central regulator of cardiac regeneration. Functional correlations exist between hCPC phenotypic properties and P2 purinergic receptor expression. Lack of P2Y2R and other crucial purinergic stress detectors could compromise hCPC responsiveness to presence of extracellular stress signals. These findings set the stage for subsequent studies to assess purinergic signaling modulation as a potential strategy to improve therapeutic outcome for use of hCPCs in patients with HF.
Project description:Myocardial function is enhanced by adoptive transfer of human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) into a pathologically challenged heart. However, advanced age, comorbidities, and myocardial injury in patients with heart failure constrain the proliferation, survival, and regenerative capacity of hCPCs. Rejuvenation of senescent hCPCs will improve the outcome of regenerative therapy for a substantial patient population possessing functionally impaired stem cells.Reverse phenotypic and functional senescence of hCPCs by ex vivo modification with Pim-1.C-kit-positive hCPCs were isolated from heart biopsy samples of patients undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation. Growth kinetics, telomere lengths, and expression of cell cycle regulators showed significant variation between hCPC isolated from multiple patients. Telomere length was significantly decreased in hCPC with slow-growth kinetics concomitant with decreased proliferation and upregulation of senescent markers compared with hCPC with fast-growth kinetics. Desirable youthful characteristics were conferred on hCPCs by genetic modification using Pim-1 kinase, including increases in proliferation, telomere length, survival, and decreased expression of senescence markers.Senescence characteristics of hCPCs are ameliorated by Pim-1 kinase resulting in rejuvenation of phenotypic and functional properties. hCPCs show improved cellular properties resulting from Pim-1 modification, but benefits were more pronounced in hCPC with slow-growth kinetics relative to hCPC with fast-growth kinetics. With the majority of patients with heart failure presenting advanced age, infirmity, and impaired regenerative capacity, the use of Pim-1 modification should be incorporated into cell-based therapeutic approaches to broaden inclusion criteria and address limitations associated with the senescent phenotype of aged hCPC.
Project description:Senescence-associated dysfunction deleteriously affects biological activities of human c-Kit+ cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs), particularly under conditions of in vitro culture. In comparison, preservation of self-renewal and decreases in mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) are characteristics of murine CPCs in vivo that reside within hypoxic niches. Recapitulating hypoxic niche oxygen tension conditions of ?1% O2 in vitro for expansion of hCPCs rather than typical normoxic cell culture conditions (21% O2 ) could provide significant improvement of functional and biological activities of hCPCs. hCPCs were isolated and expanded under permanent hypoxic (hCPC-1%) or normoxic (hCPC-21%) conditions from left ventricular tissue explants collected during left ventricular assist device implantation. hCPC-1% exhibit increased self-renewal and suppression of senescence characteristics relative to hCPC-21%. Oxidative stress contributed to higher susceptibility to apoptosis, as well as decreased mitochondrial function in hCPC-21%. Hypoxia prevented accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, supporting higher oxygen consumption rates and mitochondrial membrane potential. Mitochondrial ROS was an upstream mediator of senescence since treatment of hCPC-1% with mitochondrial inhibitor antimycin A recapitulated mitochondrial dysfunction and senescence observed in hCPC-21%. NAD+ /NADH ratio and autophagic flux, which are key factors for mitochondrial function, were higher in hCPC-1%, but hCPC-21% were highly dependent on BNIP3/NIX-mediated mitophagy to maintain mitochondrial function. Overall, results demonstrate that supraphysiological oxygen tension during in vitro expansion initiates a downward spiral of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cellular energy imbalance culminating in early proliferation arrest of hCPCs. Senescence is inhibited by preventing ROS through hypoxic culture of hCPCs. Stem Cells 2019;37:555-567.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated improved cardiac function following myocardial infarction (MI) after administration of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) into ischaemic myocardium. A growing body of literature supports paracrine effectors, including extracellular vesicles (EVs), as the main mediators of the therapeutic benefits of EPCs. The direct use of paracrine factors is an attractive strategy that harnesses the effects of cell therapy without concerns of cell engraftment or viability. We aim to reproduce the beneficial effects of EPC treatment through delivery of EPC-derived EVs within a shear-thinning gel (STG) for precise localization and sustained delivery.EVs were harvested from EPCs isolated from adult male Rattus norvegicus (Wistar) rats and characterized by electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), and mass spectrometry. EVs were incorporated into the STG and injected at the border zone in rat models of MI. Haemodynamic function, angiogenesis, and myocardial remodelling were analyzed in five groups: phosphate buffered saline (PBS) control, STG control, EVs in PBS, EVs in STG, and EPCs in STG. Electron microscopy and NTA of EVs showed uniform particles of 50-200 nm. EV content analysis revealed several key angiogenic mediators. EV uptake by endothelial cells was confirmed and followed by robust therapeutic angiogenesis. In vivo animal experiments demonstrated that delivery of EVs within the STG resulted in increased peri-infarct vascular proliferation, preservation of ventricular geometry, and improved haemodynamic function post-MI.EPC-derived EVs delivered into ischaemic myocardium via an injectable hydrogel enhanced peri-infarct angiogenesis and myocardial haemodynamics in a rat model of MI. The STG greatly increased therapeutic efficiency and efficacy of EV-mediated myocardial preservation.