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J Physiol. 2017 Dec 1;595(23):7135-7148. doi: 10.1113/JP274980. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

Empowering human cardiac progenitor cells by P2Y14 nucleotide receptor overexpression.

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San Diego Heart Research Institute, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182, USA.
Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, CA, 92123, USA.



Autologous cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) therapy is a promising approach for treatment of heart failure (HF). There is an unmet need to identify inherent deficits in aged/diseased human CPCs (hCPCs) derived from HF patients in the attempts to augment their regenerative capacity prior to use in the clinical setting. Here we report significant functional correlations between phenotypic properties of hCPCs isolated from cardiac biopsies of HF patients, clinical parameters of patients and expression of the P2Y14 purinergic receptor (P2Y14 R), a crucial detector for extracellular UDP-sugars released during injury/stress. P2Y14 R is downregulated in hCPCs derived from HF patients with lower ejection fraction or diagnosed with diabetes. Augmenting P2Y14 R expression levels in aged/diseased hCPCs antagonizes senescence and improves functional responses. This study introduces purinergic signalling modulation as a potential strategy to rejuvenate and improve phenotypic characteristics of aged/functionally compromised hCPCs prior to transplantation in HF patients.


Autologous cardiac progenitor cell therapy is a promising alternative approach to current inefficient therapies for heart failure (HF). However, ex vivo expansion and pharmacological/genetic modification of human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) are necessary interventions to rejuvenate aged/diseased cells and improve their regenerative capacities. This study was designed to assess the potential of improving hCPC functional capacity by targeting the P2Y14 purinergic receptor (P2Y14 R), which has been previously reported to induce regenerative and anti-senescence responses in a variety of experimental models. c-Kit+ hCPCs were isolated from cardiac biopsies of multiple HF patients undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation surgery. Significant correlations existed between the expression of P2Y14 R in hCPCs and clinical parameters of HF patients. P2Y14 R was downregulated in hCPCs derived from patients with a relatively lower ejection fraction and patients diagnosed with diabetes. hCPC lines with lower P2Y14 R expression did not respond to P2Y14 R agonist UDP-glucose (UDP-Glu) while hCPCs with higher P2Y14 R expression showed enhanced proliferation in response to UDP-Glu stimulation. Mechanistically, UDP-Glu stimulation enhanced the activation of canonical growth signalling pathways ERK1/2 and AKT. Restoring P2Y14 R expression levels in functionally compromised hCPCs via lentiviral-mediated overexpression improved proliferation, migration and survival under stress stimuli. Additionally, P2Y14 R overexpression reversed senescence-associated morphology and reduced levels of molecular markers of senescence p16INK4a , p53, p21 and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. Findings from this study unveil novel biological roles of the UDP-sugar receptor P2Y14 in hCPCs and suggest purinergic signalling modulation as a promising strategy to improve phenotypic properties of functionally impaired hCPCs.


P2Y14R; cardiac progenitor cells; cellular senescence; extracellular UDP-sugars

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