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Open Access Human Umbilical Cord Perivascular Cells Exhibit Enhanced Cardiomyocyte Reprogramming and Cardiac Function After Experimental Acute Myocardial Infarction

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We were interested in evaluating the ability of the mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) population, human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVCs), to undergo cardiomyocyte reprogramming in an established coculture system with rat embryonic cardiomyocytes. Results were compared with human bone marrow-derived (BM) MSCs. The transcription factors GATA4 and Mef 2c were expressed in HUCPVCs but not BM-MSCs at baseline and, at 7 days, increased 7.6- and 3.5-fold, respectively, compared with BM-MSCs. Although cardiac-specific gene expression increased in both cell types in coculture, upregulation was more significant in HUCPVCs, consistent with Mef 2c-GATA4 synergism. Using a lentivector with eGFP transcribed from the α-myosin heavy chain (α-MHC) promoter, we found that cardiac gene expression was greater in HUCPVCs than BM-MSCs after 14 days coculture (52±17% vs. 29±6%, respectively). A higher frequency of HUCPVCs expressed α-MHC protein compared with BM-MSCs (11.6±0.9% vs. 5.3±0.3%); however, both cell types retained MSC-associated determinants. We also assessed the ability of the MSC types to mediate cardiac regeneration in a NOD/SCID γ mouse model of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Fourteen days after AMI, cardiac function was significantly better in cell-treated mice compared with control animals and HUCPVCs exhibited greater improvement. Although human cells persisted in the infarct area, the frequency of α-MHC expression was low. Our results indicate that HUCPVCs exhibit a greater degree of cardiomyocyte reprogramming but that differentiation for both cell types is partial. We conclude that HUCPVCs may be preferable to BM-MSCs in the cell therapy of AMI.

Keywords: Cardiomyocyte differentiation; Cell therapy; Human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVCs); Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cell Therapy Program, Prince Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada

Publication date: September 11, 2013

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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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