1. Research Institute of Heart Failure, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
2. Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
3. Department of ICU, South Campus, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
4. Department of Cardiology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Shanghai, China.
5. Department of Cardiology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Rationale: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play important roles in tissue repair and regeneration. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying MSCs activation remain largely unknown, thus hindering their clinical translation. Exosomes are small vesicles that act as intercellular messengers, and their potential for stem cell activation in pathological conditions has not been fully characterized yet. Here, we aim to investigate whether serum exosomes are involved in the remote activation of MSCs after myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods: We established MI mouse model by ligating the left anterior descending branch of the coronary artery. Afterwards, serum exosomes were isolated from control (Con Exo) and MI mice (MI Exo) by differential centrifugation. Exosomes were characterized through transmission electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis. The cell proliferation rate was evaluated by CCK-8 and EdU incorporation assays. Exosomal miRNA and protein levels were assessed using qRT-PCR and western blotting, respectively. VEGF levels in the supernatant and serum were quantified by ELISA. Matrigel plug and tube formation assays were used to evaluate angiogenesis. To explore miR-1956 roles, overexpression and knock-down experiments were performed using mimic and inhibitor, respectively. Finally, miR-1956 target genes were confirmed using the luciferase reporter assay.
Results: Both types of exosomes exhibited typical characteristics and could be internalized by adipose-derived MSCs (ADMSCs). MI Exo enhanced ADMSCs proliferation through the activation of ERK1/2. Gain- and loss-of-function studies allowed the validation of miR-1956 (enriched in MI Exo) as the functional messenger that stimulates ADMSCs-mediated angiogenesis and paracrine VEGF signaling, by downregulating Notch-1. Finally, we found that the ischemic myocardium and kidney may be the main sources that release serum exosomes after MI.
Conclusions: Cardio-renal exosomes deliver miR-1956 and activate paracrine proangiogenic VEGF signaling in ADMSCs after MI; this process also involves Notch-1, which functions as the core mediator.
Keywords: myocardial infarction, mesenchymal stem cell, angiogenesis, microRNA, microparticles