[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cell-specific proteins and regulatory pathways that determine self-renewal and differentiation have become of fundamental importance in understanding regenerative and reparative processes in the myocardium. One such regulatory protein, named nucleostemin, has been studied in the context of stem cells and several cancer cell lines, where expression is associated with proliferation and maintenance of a primitive cellular phenotype. We find nucleostemin is present in young myocardium and is also induced following cardiomyopathic injury. Nucleostemin expression in cardiomyocytes is induced by fibroblast growth factor-2 and accumulates in response to Pim-1 kinase activity. Cardiac stem cells also express nucleostemin that is diminished in response to commitment to a differentiated phenotype. Overexpression of nucleostemin in cultured cardiac stem cells increases proliferation while preserving telomere length, providing a mechanistic basis for potential actions of nucleostemin in promotion of cell survival and proliferation as seen in other cell types.
Circulation Research 07/2008; 103(1):89-97. · 11.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of cardiac failure in the Western world, and to date there is no alternative to bypass surgery for severe coronary atherosclerosis. We report that c-kit-positive cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) activated with insulin-like growth factor 1 and hepatocyte growth factor before their injection in proximity of the site of occlusion of the left coronary artery in rats, engrafted within the host myocardium forming temporary niches. Subsequently, CPCs divided and differentiated into endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells and, to a lesser extent, into cardiomyocytes. The acquisition of vascular lineages appeared to be mediated by the up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha, which promoted the synthesis and secretion of stromal-derived factor 1 from hypoxic coronary vessels. Stromal-derived factor 1 was critical in the conversion of CPCs to the vascular fate. CPCs formed conductive and intermediate-sized coronary arteries together with resistance arterioles and capillaries. The new vessels were connected with the primary coronary circulation, and this increase in vascularization more than doubled myocardial blood flow in the infarcted myocardium. This beneficial effect, together with myocardial regeneration attenuated postinfarction dilated myopathy, reduced infarct size and improved function. In conclusion, locally delivered activated CPCs generate de novo coronary vasculature and may be implemented clinically for restoration of blood supply to the ischemic myocardium.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(5):1668-73. · 9.81 Impact Factor