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Endocrinology. 2012 Dec;153(12):5770-81. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1461. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 counteracts oxidative stress-dependent apoptosis of human cardiac progenitor cells by inhibiting the activation of the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase signaling pathway.

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Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, Section of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Andrology and Metabolic Diseases, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 11, I-70124 Bari, Italy.


Increased apoptosis of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) has been proposed as a mechanism of myocardial damage and dysfunction. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has been shown to improve heart recovery and function after ischemia and to promote cell survival. The protective effects of GLP-1 on oxidative stress-induced apoptosis were investigated in human CPCs isolated from human heart biopsies. Mesenchymal-type cells were isolated from human heart biopsies, exhibited the marker profile of CPCs, differentiated toward the myocardiocyte, adipocyte, chondrocyte, and osteocyte lineages under appropriate culture conditions, and expressed functional GLP-1 receptors. CPCs were incubated with GLP-1 with or without hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)). Phospho- and total proteins were detected by immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analysis. Gene expression was evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR. The role of the canonical GLP-1 receptor was assessed by using the receptor antagonist exendin(9-39) and receptor-specific silencer small interfering RNAs. Cell apoptosis was quantified by an ELISA assay and by flow cytometry-detected Annexin V. Exposure of CPCs to H(2)O(2) induced a 2-fold increase in cell apoptosis, mediated by activation of the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) pathway. Preincubation of CPCs with GLP-1 avoided H(2)O(2)-triggered JNK phosphorylation and nuclear localization, and protected CPCs from apoptosis. The GLP-1 effects were markedly reduced by coincubation with the receptor antagonist exendin(9-39), small interfering RNA-mediated silencing of the GLP-1 receptor, and pretreatment with the protein kinase A inhibitor H89. In conclusion, activation of GLP-1 receptors prevents oxidative stress-mediated apoptosis in human CPCs by interfering with JNK activation and may represent an important mechanism for the cardioprotective effects of GLP-1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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