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Circ Res. 2008 Nov 21;103(11):1300-8. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.186742. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

IGF-1-overexpressing mesenchymal stem cells accelerate bone marrow stem cell mobilization via paracrine activation of SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 signaling to promote myocardial repair.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory of Medicine, 231 Albert Sabin Way, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0529, USA.


We hypothesized that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) overexpressing insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 showed improved survival and engraftment in the infarcted heart and promoted stem cell recruitment through paracrine release of stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1alpha. Rat bone marrow-derived MSCs were used as nontransduced ((Norm)MSCs) or transduced with adenoviral-null vector ((Null)MSCs) or vector encoding for IGF-1 ((IGF-1)MSCs). (IGF-1)MSCs secreted higher IGF-1 until 12 days of observation (P<0.001 versus (Null)MSCs). Molecular studies revealed activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase, Akt, and Bcl.xL and inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta besides release of SDF-1alpha in parallel with IGF-1 expression in (IGF-1)MSCs. For in vivo studies, 70 muL of DMEM without cells (group 1) or containing 1.5x10(6) (Null)MSCs (group 2) or (IGF-1)MSCs (group 3) were implanted intramyocardially in a female rat model of permanent coronary artery occlusion. One week later, immunoblot on rat heart tissue (n=4 per group) showed elevated myocardial IGF-1 and phospho-Akt in group 3 and higher survival of (IGF-1)MSCs (P<0.06 versus (Null)MSCs) (n=6 per group). SDF-1alpha was increased in group 3 animal hearts (20-fold versus group 2), with massive mobilization and homing of ckit(+), MDR1(+), CD31(+), and CD34(+) cells into the infarcted heart. Infarction size was significantly reduced in cell transplanted groups compared with the control. Confocal imaging after immunostaining for myosin heavy chain, actinin, connexin-43, and von Willebrand factor VIII showed extensive angiomyogenesis in the infarcted heart. Indices of left ventricular function, including ejection fraction and fractional shortening, were improved in group 3 as compared with group 1 (P<0.05). In conclusion, the strategy of IGF-1 transgene expression induced massive stem cell mobilization via SDF-1alpha signaling and culminated in extensive angiomyogenesis in the infarcted heart.

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