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Cell Transplant. 2012;21(7):1443-61.

Ex vivo Akt/HO-1 gene therapy to human endothelial progenitor cells enhances myocardial infarction recovery.

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Department of Physiology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the overexpression of genes central to cell survival and angiogenesis to enhance the function of human late outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and their utility for infarct recovery. Ischemic myocardial injury creates a hostile microenvironment, which is characterized by hypoxia, oxidative stress, and inflammation. The infarct microenvironment prevents adhesion, survival, and integration of cell transplants that promote neovascularization. EPCs are dysfunctional as a result of risk factors in cardiovascular patients. Protein kinase B (Akt) and heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) are intracellular proteins that play an important role in angiogenesis and cell survival. Late outgrowth EPCs transduced ex vivo with Akt and HO-1 demonstrate improved adhesion to extracellular matrix, improved migration toward human cardiomyocytes, and an improved paracrine profile under stress. Enhanced late outgrowth EPCs reduce the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) burden both in vitro and in vivo, attenuating nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity and promoting cell survival. Akt and HO-1 enhance late outgrowth EPC neovascularization, resulting in improved cardiac performance and reduced negative remodeling after myocardial infarction in nude mice. Alteration of the infarct microenvironment through gene modification of human late outgrowth EPCs enhances the function and integration of transplanted cells for restoration of cardiac function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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