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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22550. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022550. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Improvement of cardiac function in mouse myocardial infarction after transplantation of epigenetically-modified bone marrow progenitor cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Center of Lung and Vascular Biology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.



To study usefulness of bone marrow progenitor cells (BPCs) epigenetically altered by chromatin modifying agents in mediating heart repair after myocardial infarction in mice.


We tested the therapeutic efficacy of bone marrow progenitor cells treated with the clinically-used chromatin modifying agents Trichostatin A (TSA, histone deacetylase inhibitor) and 5Aza-2-deoxycytidine (Aza, DNA methylation inhibitor) in a mouse model of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Treatment of BPCs with Aza and TSA induced expression of pluripotent genes Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, and thereafter culturing these cells in defined cardiac myocyte-conditioned medium resulted in their differentiation into cardiomyocyte progenitors and subsequently into cardiac myocytes. Their transition was deduced by expression of repertoire of markers: Nkx2.5, GATA4, cardiotroponin T, cardiotroponin I, α-sarcomeric actinin, Mef2c and MHC-α. We observed that the modified BPCs had greater AceH3K9 expression and reduced histone deacetylase1 (HDAC1) and lysine-specific demethylase1 (LSD1) expression compared to untreated BPCs, characteristic of epigenetic changes. Intra-myocardial injection of modified BPCs after AMI in mice significantly improved left ventricular function. These changes were ascribed to differentiation of the injected cells into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells.


Treatment of BPCs with Aza and TSA converts BPCs into multipotent cells, which can then be differentiated into myocyte progenitors. Transplantation of these modified progenitor cells into infarcted mouse hearts improved left ventricular function secondary to differentiation of cells in the niche into myocytes and endothelial cells.

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