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Open Access Human Umbilical Cord Blood Mononuclear Cell-Conditioned Media Inhibits Hypoxic-Induced Apoptosis in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells and Cardiac Myocytes by Activation of the Survival Protein Akt

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We have previously demonstrated in acute myocardial infarctions that human umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells (HUCBCs), which contain hematopoietic, endothelial, and mesenchymal stem cells, reduce acute myocardial infarction size by ≥50% and preserve LV contractility. We hypothesize that the beneficial effects of HUCBCs are due to secretion of biologically active factors that activate in cardiac endothelial cells and myocytes the cell survival protein Akt. We determined by protein microarrays the growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines secreted by HUCBCs into culture media during 12 h of hypoxia (1% O2). We then determined by Western blots the effects of cell-free media from hypoxic-conditioned HUCBCs (HUCM) on activation of the cell survival protein Akt in human coronary artery endothelial cells and cardiac myocytes in culture during 24 h of 1% O2. We also determined in separate experiments endothelial cell and myocyte apoptosis by caspase-3 and Annexin V. In the present experiments, HUCBCs secreted multiple growth factors, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and inhibitors of metalloproteinase during normoxia and hypoxia. Human cord blood cells increased the concentration in culture media of angiopoietin, hepatocyte growth factor, interleukin-4, insulin-like growth factor, placental growth factor, vascular endothelial cell growth factor, angiogenin, and stem cell factor by 100 to >10,000% during 12 h of 1% O2 (p<0.001). HUCM, which contained these biological factors, significantly increased Akt phosphorylation/activation in coronary artery endothelial cells and cardiac myocytes subjected to 24 h of 1% O2 by more than 60% (p<0.05) and increased the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 expression by 34‐50% in comparison with endothelial cells and myocytes treated without HUCM in 1% O2(p<0.05). HUCM also significantly decreased caspase-3 activity and decreased hypoxic endothelial cell and cardiac myocyte apoptosis by more than 40% in comparison with cells cultured without HUCM (p<0.05). Inhibition of Akt activation in endothelial cells and myocytes by the sensitive and specific antagonist API-1 during 24 h of hypoxia nearly completely prevented the beneficial effects of HUCM on inhibiting caspase-3 activity and apoptosis. We conclude that HUCBCs secrete biologically active factors during hypoxia that activate survival proteins in endothelial cells and myocytes that significantly limit apoptosis.

Keywords: Akt (protein kinase B); Anti-inflammatory cytokines; Apoptosis; Cardiac myocytes; Caspase; Coronary artery endothelial cells; Growth factors; Paracrine actions; Stem cells; Umbilical cord cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Cardiovascular Research and James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, FL, USA

Publication date: 2013-09-11

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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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