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1.  miR-133a Enhances the Protective Capacity of Cardiac Progenitors Cells after Myocardial Infarction 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;3(6):1029-1042.
miR-133a and miR-1 are known as muscle-specific microRNAs that are involved in cardiac development and pathophysiology. We have shown that both miR-1 and miR-133a are early and progressively upregulated during in vitro cardiac differentiation of adult cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs), but only miR-133a expression was enhanced under in vitro oxidative stress. miR-1 was demonstrated to favor differentiation of CPCs, whereas miR-133a overexpression protected CPCs against cell death, targeting, among others, the proapoptotic genes Bim and Bmf. miR-133a-CPCs clearly improved cardiac function in a rat myocardial infarction model by reducing fibrosis and hypertrophy and increasing vascularization and cardiomyocyte proliferation. The beneficial effects of miR-133a-CPCs seem to correlate with the upregulated expression of several relevant paracrine factors and the plausible cooperative secretion of miR-133a via exosomal transport. Finally, an in vitro heart muscle model confirmed the antiapoptotic effects of miR-133a-CPCs, favoring the structuration and contractile functionality of the artificial tissue.
•miR-1 and miR-133a have a role in adult cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs)•miR-133a-CPCs protect cardiac function•miR-133a-CPCs increase vascularization and protect against hypertrophy•miR-133a is enriched in CPCs-derived exosomes
Bernad and colleagues address the role of miR-1 and miR-133a in adult CPCs. Both are upregulated during cardiac differentiation, but only miR-133 protects from oxidative stress. In a myocardial infarction rat model, they demonstrate that miR-133a-CPCs transplantation increases vasculogenesis and protects from fibrosis and hypertrophy. The study also suggests a combined enhanced growth factor secretion and exosomal contribution of miR-133a.
PMCID: PMC4264058  PMID: 25465869
2.  Complement anaphylatoxins C3a and C5a induce a failing regenerative program in cardiac resident cells. Evidence of a role for cardiac resident stem cells other than cardiomyocyte renewal 
SpringerPlus  2012;1(1):63.
Cardiac healing, which follows myocardial infarction, is a complex process guided by intricate interactions among different components. Some resident cell populations with a potential role in cardiac healing have already been described in cardiac tissues. These non-cardiomyocyte cell subsets, globally described as cardiac pluripotent/progenitor cells (CPCs), are able to differentiate into all three major cardiac cell lineages (endothelial, smooth muscle and cardiomyocyte cells) in experimental settings. Nevertheless, physiological cardiac healing results in a fibrous scar, which remains to be fully modelled experimentally. Since a role for complement anaphylatoxins (C3a and C5a) has been described in several regeneration/repair processes, we examined the effects that C3a and C5a exert on a defined population of CPCs. We found that C3a and C5a are able to enhance CPC migration and proliferation. In vitro studies showed that this effect is linked to activation of telomerase mRNA and partial preservation of telomere length, in an NFκB-dependent manner. In addition, anaphylatoxin signalling modulates the CPC phenotype, increasing myofibroblast differentiation and reducing endothelial and cardiac gene expression. These findings may denote that C3a and C5a are able to maintain/increase the cardiac stem cell pool within the heart, whilst simultaneously facilitating and modulating resident cell differentiation. We found that this modulation was directed towards scar forming cells, which increased fibroblast/myofibroblast generation and suggests that both these anaphylatoxins could play a relevant role in the damage-coupled activation of resident cells, and regulation of the cardiac healing process after injury.
PMCID: PMC3592996  PMID: 23487597
3.  Cardiac stem cell genetic engineering using the αMHC promoter 
Regenerative medicine  2009;4(6):823-833.
Cardiac stem cells (CSCs) show potential as a cellular therapeutic approach to blunt tissue damage and facilitate reparative and regenerative processes after myocardial infarction. Despite multiple published reports of improvement, functional benefits remain modest using normal stem cells delivered by adoptive transfer into damaged myocardium. The goal of this study is to enhance survival and proliferation of CSCs that have undergone lineage commitment in early phases as evidenced by expression of proteins driven by the α-myosin heavy chain (αMHC) promoter. The early increased expression of survival kinases augments expansion of the cardiogenic CSC pool and subsequent daughter progeny.
Materials & methods
Normal CSCs engineered with fluorescent reporter protein constructs under control of the αMHC promoter show transgene protein expression, confirming activity of the promoter in CSCs. Cultured CSCs from both nontransgenic and cardiac-specific transgenic mice expressing survival kinases driven by the αMHC promoter were analyzed to characterize transgene expression following treatments to promote differentiation in culture.
Results & conclusion
Therapeutic genes controlled by the αMHC promoter can be engineered into and expressed in CSCs and cardiomyocyte progeny with the goal of improving the efficacy of cardiac stem cell therapy.
PMCID: PMC2869202  PMID: 19903002
AKT; cardiac regeneration; cardiac stem cell; heart; Pim-1; survival kinase; transgene
4.  A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the human p27kip1 gene (-838C>A) affects basal promoter activity and the risk of myocardial infarction 
BMC Biology  2004;2:5.
Excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells and leukocytes within the artery wall is a major event in the development of atherosclerosis. The growth suppressor p27kip1 associates with several cyclin-dependent kinase/cyclin complexes, thereby abrogating their capacity to induce progression through the cell cycle. Recent studies have implicated p27kip1 in the control of neointimal hyperplasia. For instance, p27kip1 ablation in apolipoprotein-E-null mice enhanced arterial cell proliferation and accelerated atherogenesis induced by dietary cholesterol. Therefore, p27kip1 is a candidate gene to modify the risk of developing atherosclerosis and associated ischaemic events (i.e., myocardial infarction and stroke).
In this study we found three common single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the human p27kip1 gene (+326T>G [V109G], -79C>T, and -838C>A). The frequency of -838A carriers was significantly increased in myocardial infarction patients compared to healthy controls (odds ratio [OR] = 1.73, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] = 1.12–2.70). In addition, luciferase reporter constructs driven by the human p27kip1 gene promoter containing A at position -838 had decreased basal transcriptional activity when transiently transfected in Jurkat cells, compared with constructs bearing C in -838 (P = 0.04).
These data suggest that -838A is associated with reduced p27kip1 promoter activity and increased risk of myocardial infarction.
PMCID: PMC400507  PMID: 15061869
myocardial infarction; p27kip1; single-nucleotide polymorphisms

Results 1-4 (4)