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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2011 Aug;51(2):207-14. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.04.013. Epub 2011 May 6.

STAT3/Pim-1 signaling pathway plays a crucial role in endothelial differentiation of cardiac resident Sca-1+ cells both in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, 1-6 Yamada-oka Suita City, 565-0871, Osaka, Japan.

Abstract

Cardiac stem cells potentially differentiate into cardiac cells, including cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells (ECs). Previously we demonstrated that STAT3 activation by IL-6 family cytokines, such as leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), induces the endothelial differentiation of cardiac Sca-1+ cells. In this study, we addressed molecular mechanisms for EC differentiation of Sca-1+ cells. First, DNA array experiments were performed to search for the molecules induced by LIF. Among 134 genes that LIF upregulated by more than 4 fold, we focused on Pim-1 gene transcript, because Pim-1 is associated with the differentiation of some cell lineages. Real time RT-PCR analyses confirmed that LIF stimulation upregulated Pim-1 expression. Adenoviral transfection of dominant negative (dn) STAT3 inhibited LIF-mediated induction of Pim-1, while the overexpression of constitutively active STAT3 upregulated Pim-1 expression, suggesting that STAT3 activation is necessary and sufficient for Pim-1 induction. Moreover, in STAT3-deficient Sca-1+ cells, LIF failed to induce Pim-1 expression and EC differentiation. Importantly, the overexpression of dnPim-1 abrogated the induction of EC markers, indicating Pim kinase activity is indispensable for STAT3-mediated EC differentiation in vitro. Finally, Sca-1+ cells labeled with LacZ were transplanted into post-infarct myocardium and the transdifferentiation was estimated. The overexpression of wild-type STAT3 by adenovirus vector significantly promoted EC differentiation, while STAT3 gene ablation reduced the frequency of differentiating cells in post-infarct myocardium. Furthermore, transplanted Sca-1+ cells overexpressing dnPim-1 showed the reduced frequency of EC differentiation and capillary density. Collectively, Pim-1 kinase is upregulated by STAT3 activation in cardiac Sca-1+ cells and plays a pivotal role in EC differentiation both in vitro and in vivo.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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