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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):H1395-404. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00437.2010. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

Phosphodiesterase inhibition with tadalafil provides longer and sustained protection of stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0529, USA.


We hypothesized that inhibition of the cGMP-specific enzyme phosphodiesterase 5A (PDE5A) promoted cGMP/protein kinase G (PKG) activity to condition stem cells for enhanced survival and proliferation. One-time tadalafil treatment (1 μM for 30 min) of mesenchymal stem cells ((Tada)MSCs) provided sustained protection of cells for 36 h. Higher cGMP activity with concomitantly increased PKG1 activity was observed in (Tada)MSCs, which peaked within 12 h after tadalafil treatment. Pretreatment with PKG1 blockers (1 μM KT-5823 or 20 nM K-252a) or transduction with adenoviral PKG1-short-hairpin RNA abolished tadalafil-induced cytoprotection of the cells. A higher proliferation rate was observed in (Tada)MSCs compared with nontreated MSCs ((Cont)MSCs). In a rat model of acute myocardial infarction, (Tada)MSCs transplanted 0 and 24 h after tadalafil treatment showed higher survival compared with (Cont)MSCs on day 2 and day 4 after engraftment. (Tada)MSCs transplanted 48 h after tadalafil treatment lost their protection on both day 2 and day 4 after engraftment, and their rate of survival was similar to (Cont)MSCs. Reduced terminal dUTP nick end-labeling positivity (P < 0.01 vs. (Cont)MSCs) and higher proliferation of (Tada)MSCs (P < 0.01 vs. (Cont)MSCs) was observed in the infarcted heart. Fluorescence immunostaining revealed neomyogenesis in both the infarct and peri-infarct areas. Blood vessel density was significantly increased in group 2 compared with group 1. Transthoracic echocardiographic heart function revealed significant preservation of the indexes of left ventricle contractility and attenuation of remodeling in (Tada)MSC-engrafted animal hearts (group 2) compared with (Cont)MSCs (group 1). PDE5A inhibition using long-acting tadalafil is an innovative approach to promote stem cell survival and proliferation in the infarcted heart.

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