Interstitial cells of the adult rat heart were characterized with respect to i) expression of cardiac markers of commitment and differentiation, ii) myogenic potential in vitro and iii) ability to modulate cardiomyocyte differentiation state. We demonstrate for the first time that fibroblasts and a proportion of pericytes in the adult rat heart express the transcription factor GATA4. This appears to be a peculiar property of the heart. Fibroblasts that are also derived from the splanchnopleuric mesoderm, such as those of the gut, or fibroblasts of different embryological origin, such as those of skin and skeletal muscle, lack this property. Of note, a nestin+/GATA4+ putative stem cell population is also detected in the adult heart. GATA4+ cardiac interstitial cells do not display myogenic potential in vitro. However, cardiac fibroblasts, but not skin fibroblasts, stimulate dedifferentiation of adult cardiomyocytes and their re-entry into the cell cycle in vitro, as demonstrated by the high number of cardiomyocytes expressing Ki67, phosphorylated histone H3 (H3P) and incorporating 5-bromodeoxiuridine (BrdU) in the co-cultures. In conclusion, cardiac fibroblasts have peculiar expression of myogenic transcription factors, a property that may have an impact for reprogramming these cells to the myogenic differentiation. In addition, they are able to modulate the behavior of adult cardiomyocytes, a property that may be used to promote dedifferentiation and proliferation of cardiac cells in the damaged myocardium.
"Recent data from our group have highlighted that peculiar stromal cells, called telocytes, mediate myocardial compaction in vitro and regulate the ventricular wall organization during mouse heart development . Further support to the sculpturing role of stromal cells in heart development comes from the in vitro demonstration that embryonic, but not adult, fibroblasts are able to promote cardiomyocyte engraftment in a three-dimensional collagen matrix , selectively express the GATA-4 cardiac transcriptional factor , and activate the dedifferentiation and cell cycle re-entry of adult cardiomyocytes . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The possibility to induce myocardial regeneration by the activation of resident cardiac stem cells (CSCs) has raised great interest. However, to propose endogenous CSCs as therapeutic options, a better understanding of the complex mechanisms controlling heart morphogenesis is needed, including the cellular and molecular interactions that cardiomyocyte precursors establish with cells of the stromal compartment. In the present study, we co-cultured immature cardiomyocytes from neonatal mouse hearts with mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to investigate whether these cells could influence cardiomyocyte growth in vitro. We found that cardiomyocyte proliferation was enhanced by direct co-culture with MSCs compared with the single cultures. We also showed that the proliferative response of the neonatal cardiomyocytes involved the activation of Notch-1 receptor by its ligand Jagged-1 expressed by the adjacent MSCs. In fact, the cardiomyocytes in contact with MSCs revealed a stronger immunoreactivity for the activated Notch-intracellular domain (Notch-ICD) as compared with those cultured alone and this response was significantly attenuated when MSCs were silenced for Jagged-1. The presence of various cardiotropic cytokines and growth factors in the conditioned medium of MSCs underscored the contribution of paracrine mechanisms to Notch-1 up-regulation by the cardiomyocytes. In conclusions these findings unveil a previously unrecognized function of MSCs in regulating cardiomyocyte proliferation through Notch-1/Jagged-1 pathway and suggest that stromal-myocardial cell juxtacrine and paracrine interactions may contribute to the development of new and more efficient cell-based myocardial repair strategies.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 06/2011; 51(3):399-408. DOI:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.06.004 · 4.66 Impact Factor
"Of further interest are the separate populations of proliferating GATA4 and Islet1 expressing cells in and around the area of regeneration that is not co-localized with cardiomyocyte markers. This indicates that there could be a population of cardiac progenitors with an earlier developmental phenotype up-regulated during the regeneration phase (Laugwitz et al., 2008; Zaglia et al., 2009). From where these cells derive still needs to be elucidated but we believe this is the first time that Islet1 positive cells can be linked to cardiac regeneration in vivo. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urodele amphibians, like the newt, are the "champions of regeneration" as they are able to regenerate many body parts and tissues. Previous experiments, however, have suggested that the newt heart has only a limited regeneration capacity, similar to the human heart. Using a novel, reproducible ventricular resection model, we show for the first time that adult newt hearts can fully regenerate without any evidence of scarring. This process is governed by increased proliferation and the up-regulation of cardiac transcription factors normally expressed during developmental cardiogenesis. Furthermore, we are able to identify cells within the newly regenerated regions of the myocardium that express the LIM-homeodomain protein Islet1 and GATA4, transcription factors found in cardiac progenitors. Information acquired from using the newt as a model organism may help to shed light on the regeneration deficits demonstrated in damaged human hearts.
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