Neural Crest-Derived Stem Cells Migrate and Differentiate Into Cardiomyocytes After Myocardial Infarction
ABSTRACT We recently demonstrated that primitive neural crest-derived (NC) cells migrate from the cardiac neural crest during embryonic development and remain in the heart as dormant stem cells, with the capacity to differentiate into various cell types, including cardiomyocytes. Here, we examined the migration and differentiation potential of these cells on myocardial infarction (MI).
We obtained double-transgenic mice by crossing protein-0 promoter-Cre mice with Floxed-enhanced green fluorescent protein mice, in which the NC cells express enhanced green fluorescent protein. In the neonatal heart, NC stem cells (NCSCs) were localized predominantly in the outflow tract, but they were also distributed in a gradient from base to apex throughout the ventricular myocardium. Time-lapse video analysis revealed that the NCSCs were migratory. Some NCSCs persisted in the adult heart. On MI, NCSCs accumulated at the ischemic border zone area (BZA), which expresses monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Ex vivo cell migration assays demonstrated that MCP-1 induced NCSC migration and that this chemotactic effect was significantly depressed by an anti-MCP-1 antibody. Small NC cardiomyocytes first appeared in the BZA 2 weeks post-MI and gradually increased in number thereafter.
These results suggested that NCSCs migrate into the BZA via MCP-1/CCR2 signaling and contribute to the provision of cardiomyocytes for cardiac regeneration after MI.
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