Lijuan Chen

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, United States

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Publications (10)41.7 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) can differentiate into cardiomyocytes (CM) and represent a promising form of cellular therapy for heart regeneration. However, residual undifferentiated iPS derivates (iPSD), which are not fully eliminated by cell differentiation or purification protocols, may form tumors after transplantation, thus compromising therapeutic application. Inhibition of stearoyl-coA desaturase (SCD) has recently been reported to eliminate undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells, which share many features with iPSD. Here, we tested the effects of PluriSin#1, a small-molecule inhibitor of SCD, on iPS-derived CM. We found that plurisin#1 treatment significantly decreased the mRNA and protein level of Nanog, a marker for both cell pluripotency and tumor progression; importantly, we provide evidence that PluriSin#1 treatment at 20 µM for 1 day significantly induces the apoptosis of Nanog-positive iPSD. In addition, PluriSin#1 treatment at 20 µM for 4 days diminished Nanog-positive stem cells in cultured iPSD while not increasing apoptosis of iPS-derived CM. To investigate whether PluriSin#1 treatment prevents tumorigenicity of iPSD after cell transplantation, we intramyocardially injected PluriSin#1- or DMSO-treated iPSD in a mouse model of myocardial infarction (MI). DMSO-treated iPSD readily formed Nanog-expressing tumors 2 weeks after injection, which was prevented by treatment with PluriSin#1. Moreover, treatment with PluriSin#1 did not change the expression of cTnI, α-MHC, or MLC-2v, markers of cardiac differentiation (P>0.05, n = 4). Importantly, pluriSin#1-treated iPS-derived CM exhibited the ability to engraft and survive in the infarcted myocardium. We conclude that inhibition of SCD holds the potential to enhance the safety of therapeutic application of iPS cells for heart regeneration.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 01/2014; 13(5). · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cardiac progenitors (CPC) mediate cardioprotection via paracrine effects. To date, most of studies focused on secreted paracrine proteins. Here we investigated the CPC-derived-exosomes on protecting myocardium from acute ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) injury. METHODS AND RESULTS: CPC were isolated from mouse heart using two-step protocol. Exosomes were purified from conditional medium, and confirmed by electron micrograph and Western blot using CD63 as a marker. qRT-PCR shows that CPC- exosomes have high level expression of GATA4-responsive-miR-451. Exosomes were ex vivo labeled with PKH26, We observed exosomes can be uptaken by H9C2 cardiomyoblasts with high efficiency after 12 hours incubation. CPC-exosomes protect H9C2 from oxidative stress by inhibiting caspase 3/7 activation in vitro. In vivo delivery of CPC-exosomes in an acute mouse myocardial ischemia/reperfusion model inhibited cardiomyocyte apoptosis by about 53% in comparison with PBS control(p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest, for the first time, the CPC-exosomes can be used as a therapeutic vehicle for cardioprotection, and highlights a new perspective for using non-cell exosomes for cardiac disease.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2013; · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac progenitor cells (CPC) are a unique pool of progenitor cells residing in the heart that play an important role in cardiac homeostasis and physiological cardiovascular cell turnover during acute myocardial infarction (MI). Transplanting CPC into the heart has shown promise in two recent clinical trials of cardiac repair (SCIPIO & CADUCEUS). CSCs were originally isolated directly from enzymatically digested hearts followed by cell sorting using stem cell markers. However, long exposure to enzymatic digestion can affect the integrity of stem cell markers on the cell surface and also compromise stem cell function. Here, we describe a two-step procedure in which a large number of intact cardiac progenitor cells can be purified from small amount of heart tissue.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 1036:75-80. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to identify the donor stem cells following transplantation into injured hearts is critical. This is particularly important in evaluating stem cell survival and lineage differentiation into mature cardiovascular cells. Several approaches have been employed for tracking the donor stem cells, including fluorescent dyes and fluorescent protein gene transfer. Here, we will induce a protocol using lentivirus-mediated green fluorescent protein (GFP) to monitor the fate of donor stem cells following transplantation.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 1036:89-94. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiosphere derived cells (CDC) are present in the human heart and include heterogeneous cell populations of cardiac progenitor cells, multipotent progenitors that play critical roles in the physiological and pathological turnover of heart tissue. Little is known about the molecular pathways that control the differentiation of CDC. In this study, we examined the role of Notch 1/J kappa-recombining binding protein (RBPJ) signaling, a critical cell-fate decision pathway, in CDC differentiation. We isolated CDC from mouse cardiospheres and analyzed the differentiation of transduced cells expressing the Notch1 intracellular domain (N1-ICD), the active form of Notch1, using a terminal differentiation marker polymerase chain reaction (PCR) array. We found that Notch1 primarily supported the differentiation of CDC into smooth muscle cells (SMC), as demonstrated by the upreguation of key SMC proteins, including smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (Myh11) and SM22α (Tagln), in N1-ICD expressing CDC. Conversely, genetic ablation of RBPJ in CDC diminished the expression of SMC differentiation markers, confirming that SMC differentiation CDC is dependent on RBPJ. Finally, in vivo experiments demonstrate enhanced numbers of smooth muscle actin-expressing implanted cells after an injection of N1-ICD-expressing CDC into ischemic myocardium (44±8/high power field (hpf) vs. 11±4/high power field (hpf), n=7 sections, P<0.05). Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that Notch1 promotes SMC differentiation of CDC through an RBPJ-dependent signaling pathway in vitro, which may have important implications for progenitor cell-mediated angiogenesis.
    Stem cells and development 02/2012; 21(12):2122-9. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) have been shown to be suitable in stem cell therapy for resurrecting damaged myocardium, but poor retention of transplanted cells in the ischemic myocardium causes ineffective cell therapy. Hypoxic preconditioning of cells can increase the expression of CXCR4 and pro-survival genes to promote better cell survival; however, it is unknown whether hypoxia preconditioning will influence the survival and retention of CPCs via the SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis. CPCs were isolated from adult mouse hearts and purified by magnetic activated cell sorting using c-kit magnetic beads. These cells were cultured at various times in either normoxic or hypoxic conditions, and cell survival was analyzed using flow cytometry and the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), CXCR4, phosphorylated Akt and Bcl-2 were measured by Western blot. Results showed that the expression of pro-survival genes significantly increased after hypoxia treatment, especially in cells cultured in hypoxic conditions for six hours. Upon completion of hypoxia preconditioning from c-kit+ CPCs for six hours, the anti-apoptosis, migration and cardiac repair potential were evaluated. Results showed a significant enhancement in anti-apoptosis and migration in vitro, and better survival and cardiac function after being transplanted into acute myocardial infarction (MI) mice in vivo. The beneficial effects induced by hypoxia preconditioning of c-kit+ CPCs could largely be blocked by the addition of CXCR4 selective antagonist AMD3100. Hypoxic preconditioning may improve the survival and retention of c-kit+ CPCs in the ischemic heart tissue through activating the SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis and the downstream anti-apoptosis pathway. Strategies targeting this aspect may enhance the effectiveness of cell-based cardiac regenerative therapy.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e37948. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signal pathway directly controls stem cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Noncoding RNAs, including small microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (LncRNAs), are responsible for fine regulation of gene expression. It is also becoming increasingly evident that miRNAs have a profound impact on the Notch signaling pathway; conversely, Notch signaling can regulate a handful of miRNAs that are involved in the stem cell function. In this chapter, we summarize our current knowledge of Notch-mediated stem cell differentiation and the cross talk between miRNAs and the Notch signal pathway on determining the fate of stem cells.
    Progress in molecular biology and translational science 01/2012; 111:175-93. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the effect of intracoronary transfer of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) labeled heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) overexpressed bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in a porcine myocardial ischemia/reperfusion model. Cell apoptosis was assayed and supernatant cytokine concentrations were measured in BMSCs that underwent hypoxia/reoxygen in vitro. Female mini-swines that underwent 1 h LAD occlusion followed by 1 h reperfusion were randomly allocated to receive intracoronary saline (control), 1 x 10(7) SPIO-labeled BMSCs transfected with pcDNA3.1-Lacz plasmid (Lacz-BMSCs), pcDNA3.1-human HO-1 (HO-1-BMSCs), pcDNA3.1-hHO-1 pretreated with a HO inhibitor, tin protoporphyrin (SnPP, n = 10 each). MRI and postmortem histological analysis were made at 1 week or 3 months thereafter. Post hypoxia/reoxygen in vitro, apoptosis was significantly reduced, supernatant VEGF significantly increased while TNF-alpha and IL-6 significantly reduced in HO-1-BMSCs group compared with Lacz-BMSCs group (all p < 0.05). Myocardial expression of VEGF was significantly higher in HO-1-BMSCs than in Lacz-BMSCs group at 1 week post transplantation (all p < 0.05). Signal voids induced by the SPIO were detected in the peri-infarction region in all BMSC groups at 1 week but not at 3 months post transplantation and the extent of the hypointense signal was the highest in HO-1-BMSCs group, and histological analysis showed that signal voids represented cardiac macrophages that engulfed the SPIO-labeled BMSCs. Pretreatment with SnPP significantly attenuated the beneficial effects of HO-1-BMSCs. Transplantation of HO-1-overexpressed BMSCs significantly enhanced the beneficial effects of BMSCs on improving cardiac function in this model.
    Archiv für Kreislaufforschung 05/2010; 105(3):431-42. · 7.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myocardial infarction rapidly depletes the endogenous cardiac progenitor cell pool, and the inefficient recruitment of exogenously administered progenitor cells limits the effectiveness of cardiac cell therapy. Recent reports indicate that interactions between the CXC chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 and its receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) critically mediate the ischemia-induced recruitment of bone marrow-derived circulating stem/progenitor cells, but the expression of CXCR4 in cardiac progenitor cells is very low. Here, we studied the influence of hypoxia on CXCR4 expression in cardiac progenitor cells, on the recruitment of intravenously administered cells to ischemic heart tissue, and on the preservation of heart function in a murine myocardial infarction model. We found that hypoxic preconditioning increased CXCR4 expression in CLK (cardiosphere-derived, Lin(-)c-kit(+) progenitor) cells and markedly augmented CLK cell migration (in vitro) and recruitment (in vivo) to the ischemic myocardium. Four weeks after surgically induced myocardial infarction, infarct size and heart function were significantly better in mice administered hypoxia-preconditioned CLK cells than in mice treated with cells cultured under normoxic conditions. Furthermore, these effects were largely abolished by the addition of a CXCR4 inhibitor, indicating that the benefits of hypoxic preconditioning are mediated by the stromal cell-derived factor 1/CXCR4 axis, and that therapies targeting this axis may enhance cardiac-progenitor cell-based regenerative therapy.
    Circulation Research 06/2009; 104(10):1209-16. · 11.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tetramethylpyrazine, a drug originally isolated from the rhizome of Ligusticum walliichi, is an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase and inhibits platelet aggregation and smooth muscle cell proliferation. The effect of the tetramethylpyrazine-eluting stent (TES) on preventing in-stent restenosis was investigated in comparison with control bare metal stents in a porcine coronary stent restenosis model. The TES was prepared by spray-coating the 2.5 to 3.0 mm x 15 to 20 mm bare metal stents with Tetramethylpyrazine monomer, methyl methacrylate copolymer, and polyglycolic acid. Stent overdilation injury (stent:artery = 1.1 to 1.2:1.0) was made with control bare stents (n = 5) and TES (n = 5) in porcine coronary arteries. Follow-up quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) and histopathological assessments of stented coronary arteries were performed 4 weeks after stenting. Quantitative coronary angiography showed the late lumen loss (0.28 +/- 0.08 mm versus 1.70 +/- 0.52 mm; P = 0.004) and percentage diameter stenosis (10.0 +/- 2.1% versus 60.2 +/- 23.5%; P = 0.01) were significantly lower in the TES group than that in the control group. Histopathological assessments of stented coronary arteries showed that the injury score and the in-stent area were similar between the groups (P > 0.05), whereas the lumen area was significantly larger (4.34 +/- 0.93 mm2 versus 1.29 +/- 1.02 mm2; P = 0.011) in the TES group than that in the control group. The number of proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive cells was also significantly decreased in the TES group compared with the control group (14.7 +/- 2.5% versus 23.6 +/- 3.2%; P = 0.008). Moreover, apoptosis was enhanced in TES group while regrowth of endothelium was similar between the groups. TES inhibited the neointimal hyperplasia and reduced in-stent restenosis in a porcine coronary artery restenosis model.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 08/2007; 50(2):201-5. · 2.38 Impact Factor