Thymosin β4 and cardiac repair

Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 4.38). 04/2010; 1194(1):87-96. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05468.x
Source: PubMed


Hypoxic heart disease is a predominant cause of disability and death worldwide. As adult mammals are incapable of cardiac repair after infarction, the discovery of effective methods to achieve myocardial and vascular regeneration is crucial. Efforts to use stem cells to repopulate damaged tissue are currently limited by technical considerations and restricted cell potential. We discovered that the small, secreted peptide thymosin beta4 (Tbeta4) could be sufficiently used to inhibit myocardial cell death, stimulate vessel growth, and activate endogenous cardiac progenitors by reminding the adult heart on its embryonic program in vivo. The initiation of epicardial thickening accompanied by increase of myocardial and epicardial progenitors with or without infarction indicate that the reactivation process is independent of injury. Our results demonstrate Tbeta4 to be the first known molecule able to initiate simultaneous myocardial and vascular regeneration after systemic administration in vivo. Given our findings, the utility of Tbeta4 to heal cardiac injury may hold promise and warrant further investigation.

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Available from: Deepak Srivastava,
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    • "Additional studies have confirmed that Thymosin b4 is a direct transcriptional target of Hand1 (Smart et al., 2010). Although the contribution of this regulatory relationship to cardiogenesis has not been defined, evidence suggests that Thymosin b4 may 488 VINCENTZ ET AL. stimulate vascular and myocardial growth while inhibiting myocardial cell death (Shrivastava et al., 2010). Disruption of Hand2 function in the mouse generates cardiac phenotypes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Thymosin beta-4 (Tβ4) is a ubiquitous protein with diverse functions relating to cell proliferation and differentiation that promotes wound healing and modulates inflammatory responses. The effecter molecules targeted by Tβ4 for cardiac protection remains unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine the molecules targeted by Tβ4 that mediate cardio-protection under oxidative stress. Rat neonatal fibroblasts cells were exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) in presence and absence of Tβ4 and expression of antioxidant, apoptotic and pro-fibrotic genes was evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were estimated by DCF-DA using fluorescent microscopy and fluorimetry. Selected antioxidant and antiapoptotic genes were silenced by siRNA transfections in cardiac fibroblasts and the effect of Tβ4 on H(2)O(2)-induced profibrotic events was evaluated. Pre-treatment with Tβ4 resulted in reduction of the intracellular ROS levels induced by H(2)O(2) in the cardiac fibroblasts. This was associated with an increased expression of antioxidant enzymes Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase and reduction of Bax/Bcl(2) ratio. Tβ4 treatment reduced the expression of pro-fibrotic genes [connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), collagen type-1 (Col-I) and collagen type-3 (Col-III)] in the cardiac fibroblasts. Silencing of Cu/Zn-SOD and catalase gene triggered apoptotic cell death in the cardiac fibroblasts, which was prevented by treatment with Tβ4. This is the first report that exhibits the targeted molecules modulated by Tβ4 under oxidative stress utilizing the cardiac fibroblasts. Tβ4 treatment prevented the profibrotic gene expression in the in vitro settings. Our findings indicate that Tβ4 selectively targets and upregulates catalase, Cu/Zn-SOD and Bcl(2), thereby, preventing H(2)O(2)-induced profibrotic changes in the myocardium. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the signaling pathways involved in the cardio-protection afforded by Tβ4.
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