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Open Access Embryonic Stem Cells Improve Cardiac Function in Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiomyopathy Mediated Through Multiple Mechanisms

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Doxorubicin (DOX) is an effective antineoplastic agent used for the treatment of a variety of cancers. Unfortunately, its use is limited as this drug induces cardiotoxicity and heart failure as a side effect. There is no report that describes whether transplanted embryonic stem (ES) cells or their conditioned medium (CM) in DOX-induced cardiomyopathy (DIC) can repair and regenerate myocardium. Therefore, we transplanted ES cells or CM in DIC to examine apoptosis, fibrosis, cytoplasmic vacuolization, and myofibrillar loss and their associated Akt and ERK pathway. Moreover, we also determined activation of endogenous c-kit+ve cardiac stem cells (CSCs), levels of HGF and IGF-1, growth factors required for c-kit cell activation, and their differentiation into cardiac myocytes, which also contributes in cardiac regeneration and improved heart function. We generated DIC in C57Bl/6 mice (cumulative dose of DOX 12 mg/kg body weight, IP), and animals were treated with ES cells, CM, or cell culture medium in controls. Two weeks post-DIC, ES cells or CM transplanted hearts showed a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in cardiac apoptotic nuclei and their regulation with Akt and ERK pathway. Cardiac fibrosis observed in the ES cell or CM groups was significantly less compared with DOX and cell culture medium groups (p < 0.05). Next, cytoplasmic vacuolization and myofibrillar loss was reduced (p < 0.05) following treatment with ES cells or CM. Moreover, our data also demonstrated increased levels of c-kit+ve CSCs in ES cells or CM hearts and differentiated cardiac myocytes from these CSCs, suggesting endogenous cardiac regeneration. Importantly, the levels of HFG and IGF-1 were significantly increased in ES cells or CM transplanted hearts. In conclusion, we reported that transplanted ES cells or CM in DIC hearts significantly decreases various adverse pathological mechanisms as well as enhances cardiac regeneration that effectively contributes to improved heart function.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Doxorubicin (DOX); Fibrosis; Heart; Stem cells

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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