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J Biol Chem. 2007 May 11;282(19):14243-52. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Hyaluronan mixed esters of butyric and retinoic Acid drive cardiac and endothelial fate in term placenta human mesenchymal stem cells and enhance cardiac repair in infarcted rat hearts.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Stem Cell Engineering, Institute of Cardiology, National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


We have developed a mixed ester of hyaluronan with butyric and retinoic acid (HBR) that acted as a novel cardiogenic/vasculogenic agent in human mesenchymal stem cells isolated from bone marrow, dental pulp, and fetal membranes of term placenta (FMhMSCs). HBR remarkably enhanced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), KDR, and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene expression and the secretion of the angiogenic, mitogenic, and antiapoptotic factors VEGF and HGF, priming stem cell differentiation into endothelial cells. HBR also increased the transcription of the cardiac lineage-promoting genes GATA-4 and Nkx-2.5 and the yield of cardiac markerexpressing cells. These responses were notably more pronounced in FMhMSCs. FMhMSC transplantation into infarcted rat hearts was associated with increased capillary density, normalization of left ventricular function, and significant decrease in scar tissue. Transplantation of HBR-preconditioned FMhM-SCs further enhanced capillary density and the yield of human vWF-expressing cells, additionally decreasing the infarct size. Some engrafted, HBR-pretreated FMhMSCs were also positive for connexin 43 and cardiac troponin I. Thus, the beneficial effects of HBR-exposed FMhMSCs may be mediated by a large supply of angiogenic and antiapoptotic factors, and FMhMSC differentiation into vascular cells. These findings may contribute to further development in cell therapy of heart failure.

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