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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):H2038-49. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00271.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

MicroRNA-1 transfected embryonic stem cells enhance cardiac myocyte differentiation and inhibit apoptosis by modulating the PTEN/Akt pathway in the infarcted heart.

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Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA.


microRNAs (miRs) have emerged as critical modulators of various physiological processes including stem cell differentiation. Indeed, miR-1 has been reported to play an integral role in the regulation of cardiac muscle progenitor cell differentiation. However, whether overexpression of miR-1 in embryonic stem (ES) cells (miR-1-ES cells) will enhance cardiac myocyte differentiation following transplantation into the infarcted myocardium is unknown. In the present study, myocardial infarction (MI) was produced in C57BL/6 mice by left anterior descending artery ligation. miR-1-ES cells, ES cells, or culture medium (control) was transplanted into the border zone of the infarcted heart, and 2 wk post-MI, cardiac myocyte differentiation, adverse ventricular remodeling, and cardiac function were assessed. We provide evidence demonstrating enhanced cardiac myocyte commitment of transplanted miR-1-ES cells in the mouse infarcted heart as compared with ES cells. Assessment of apoptosis revealed that overexpression of miR-1 in transplanted ES cells protected host myocardium from MI-induced apoptosis through activation of p-AKT and inhibition of caspase-3, phosphatase and tensin homolog, and superoxide production. A significant reduction in interstitial and vascular fibrosis was quantified in miR-1-ES cell and ES cell transplanted groups compared with control MI. However, no statistical significance between miR-1-ES cell and ES cell groups was observed. Finally, mice receiving miR-1-ES cell transplantation post-MI had significantly improved heart function compared with respective controls (P < 0.05). Our data suggest miR-1 drives cardiac myocyte differentiation from transplanted ES cells and inhibits apoptosis post-MI, ultimately giving rise to enhanced cardiac repair, regeneration, and function.

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