Publications by authors named "Maria Paola Santini"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Histone deacetylase 9 promotes endothelial-mesenchymal transition and an unfavorable atherosclerotic plaque phenotype.

J Clin Invest 2021 Aug;131(15)

Cardiovascular Research Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.

Endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) is associated with various cardiovascular diseases and in particular with atherosclerosis and plaque instability. However, the molecular pathways that govern EndMT are poorly defined. Specifically, the role of epigenetic factors and histone deacetylases (HDACs) in controlling EndMT and the atherosclerotic plaque phenotype remains unclear. Here, we identified histone deacetylation, specifically that mediated by HDAC9 (a class IIa HDAC), as playing an important role in both EndMT and atherosclerosis. Using in vitro models, we found class IIa HDAC inhibition sustained the expression of endothelial proteins and mitigated the increase in mesenchymal proteins, effectively blocking EndMT. Similarly, ex vivo genetic knockout of Hdac9 in endothelial cells prevented EndMT and preserved a more endothelial-like phenotype. In vivo, atherosclerosis-prone mice with endothelial-specific Hdac9 knockout showed reduced EndMT and significantly reduced plaque area. Furthermore, these mice displayed a more favorable plaque phenotype, with reduced plaque lipid content and increased fibrous cap thickness. Together, these findings indicate that HDAC9 contributes to vascular pathology by promoting EndMT. Our study provides evidence for a pathological link among EndMT, HDAC9, and atherosclerosis and suggests that targeting of HDAC9 may be beneficial for plaque stabilization or slowing the progression of atherosclerotic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI131178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8321575PMC
August 2021

Direct Reprogramming Induces Vascular Regeneration Post Muscle Ischemic Injury.

Mol Ther 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Cardiovascular Research Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA, 10029; Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA, 10029; Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA, 10029. Electronic address:

Reprogramming non-cardiomyocytes (non-CMs) into cardiomyocyte (CM)-like cells is a promising strategy for cardiac regeneration in conditions such as ischemic heart disease. Here, we used a modified mRNA (modRNA) gene delivery platform to deliver a cocktail of four cardiac-reprogramming genes (Gata4 (G), Mef2c (M), Tbx5 (T) and Hand2 (H)) together with three reprogramming-helper genes (Dominant Negative (DN)-TGFβ, DN-Wnt8a and Acid ceramidase (AC)), termed 7G-modRNA, to induce CM-like cells. We showed that 7G-modRNA reprogrammed 57% of CM-like cells in vitro. Through a lineage-tracing model, we determined that delivering the 7G-modRNA cocktail at the time of myocardial infarction reprogrammed ∼25% of CM-like cells in the scar area and significantly improved cardiac function, scar size, long-term survival and capillary density. Mechanistically, we determined that while 7G-modRNA cannot create de-novo beating CMs in vitro or in vivo, it can significantly upregulate pro-angiogenic mesenchymal stromal cells markers and transcription factors. We also demonstrated that our 7G-modRNA cocktail leads to neovascularization in ischemic-limb injury, indicating CM-like cells importance in other organs besides the heart. modRNA is currently being used around the globe for vaccination against COVID-19, and this study proves this is a safe, highly efficient gene delivery approach with therapeutic potential to treat ischemic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.07.014DOI Listing
July 2021

Tissue-Resident PDGFRα Progenitor Cells Contribute to Fibrosis versus Healing in a Context- and Spatiotemporally Dependent Manner.

Cell Rep 2020 01;30(2):555-570.e7

Cardiovascular Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), New York, NY 10029, USA. Electronic address:

PDGFRα mesenchymal progenitor cells are associated with pathological fibro-adipogenic processes. Conversely, a beneficial role for these cells during homeostasis or in response to revascularization and regeneration stimuli is suggested, but remains to be defined. We studied the molecular profile and function of PDGFRα cells in order to understand the mechanisms underlying their role in fibrosis versus regeneration. We show that PDGFRα cells are essential for tissue revascularization and restructuring through injury-stimulated remodeling of stromal and vascular components, context-dependent clonal expansion, and ultimate removal of pro-fibrotic PDGFRα-derived cells. Tissue ischemia modulates the PDGFRα phenotype toward cells capable of remodeling the extracellular matrix and inducing cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, likely favoring tissue repair. Conversely, pathological healing occurs if PDGFRα-derived cells persist as terminally differentiated mesenchymal cells. These studies support a context-dependent "yin-yang" biology of tissue-resident mesenchymal progenitor cells, which possess an innate ability to limit injury expansion while also promoting fibrosis in an unfavorable environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.12.045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7030884PMC
January 2020

CD90 Identifies Adventitial Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells in Adult Human Medium- and Large-Sized Arteries.

Stem Cell Reports 2018 07 28;11(1):242-257. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

The Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute and Cardiovascular Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1030, New York, NY 10029, USA. Electronic address:

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reportedly exist in a vascular niche occupying the outer adventitial layer. However, these cells have not been well characterized in vivo in medium- and large-sized arteries in humans, and their potential pathological role is unknown. To address this, healthy and diseased arterial tissues were obtained as surplus surgical specimens and freshly processed. We identified that CD90 marks a rare adventitial population that co-expresses MSC markers including PDGFRα, CD44, CD73, and CD105. However, unlike CD90, these additional markers were widely expressed by other cells. Human adventitial CD90+ cells fulfilled standard MSC criteria, including plastic adherence, spindle morphology, passage ability, colony formation, and differentiation into adipocytes, osteoblasts, and chondrocytes. Phenotypic and transcriptomic profiling, as well as adoptive transfer experiments, revealed a potential role in vascular disease pathogenesis, with the transcriptomic disease signature of these cells being represented in an aortic regulatory gene network that is operative in atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6067150PMC
July 2018

Developmental origin and lineage plasticity of endogenous cardiac stem cells.

Development 2016 Apr;143(8):1242-58

Cardiovascular Research Centre, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, NY, USA Stem Cells Australia, Melbourne Brain Centre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

Over the past two decades, several populations of cardiac stem cells have been described in the adult mammalian heart. For the most part, however, their lineage origins and in vivo functions remain largely unexplored. This Review summarizes what is known about different populations of embryonic and adult cardiac stem cells, including KIT(+), PDGFRα(+), ISL1(+)and SCA1(+)cells, side population cells, cardiospheres and epicardial cells. We discuss their developmental origins and defining characteristics, and consider their possible contribution to heart organogenesis and regeneration. We also summarize the origin and plasticity of cardiac fibroblasts and circulating endothelial progenitor cells, and consider what role these cells have in contributing to cardiac repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.111591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852509PMC
April 2016

Ablation of SGK1 impairs endothelial cell migration and tube formation leading to decreased neo-angiogenesis following myocardial infarction.

PLoS One 2013 12;8(11):e80268. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

Heart Science Centre, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Harefield, United Kingdom.

Serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) plays a pivotal role in early angiogenesis during embryonic development. In this study, we sought to define the SGK1 downstream signalling pathways in the adult heart and to elucidate their role in cardiac neo-angiogenesis and wound healing after myocardial ischemia. To this end, we employed a viable SGK1 knockout mouse model generated in a 129/SvJ background. Ablation of SGK1 in these mice caused a significant decrease in phosphorylation of SGK1 target protein NDRG1, which correlated with alterations in NF-κB signalling and expression of its downstream target protein, VEGF-A. Disruption of these signalling pathways was accompanied by smaller heart and body size. Moreover, the lack of SGK1 led to defective endothelial cell (ECs) migration and tube formation in vitro, and increased scarring with decreased angiogenesis in vivo after myocardial infarct. This study underscores the importance of SGK1 signalling in cardiac neo-angiogenesis and wound healing after an ischemic insult in vivo.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0080268PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827188PMC
July 2014

Cardiac fibrosis in mice expressing an inducible myocardial-specific Cre driver.

Dis Model Mech 2013 Nov 7;6(6):1470-6. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Heart Science Centre and Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Imperial College London, London, W12 0NN, UK.

Tamoxifen-inducible Cre-mediated manipulation of animal genomes has achieved wide acceptance over the last decade, with numerous important studies heavily relying on this technique. Recently, a number of groups have reported transient complications of using this protocol in the heart. In the present study we observed a previously unreported focal fibrosis and depressed left-ventricular function in tamoxifen-treated αMHC-MerCreMer-positive animals in a Tβ4shRNAflox × αMHC-MerCreMer cross at 6-7 weeks following standard tamoxifen treatment, regardless of the presence of the floxed transgene. The phenotype was reproduced by treating mice from the original αMHC-MerCreMer strain with tamoxifen. In the acute phase after tamoxifen treatment, cell infiltration into the myocardium was accompanied by increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, IFNγ, Ccl2) and markers of hypertrophy (ANF, BNP, Col3a1). These observations highlight the requirement for including tamoxifen-treated MerCreMer littermate controls to avert misinterpretation of conditional mutant phenotypes. A survey of the field as well as the protocols presented here suggests that controlling the parameters of tamoxifen delivery is important in avoiding the chronic MerCreMer-mediated cardiac phenotype reported here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.010470DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820269PMC
November 2013

Myocardial regenerative properties of macrophage populations and stem cells.

J Cardiovasc Transl Res 2012 Oct 9;5(5):700-12. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Harefield, UK.

The capacity to regenerate damaged tissue and appendages is lost to some extent in higher vertebrates such as mammals, which form a scar tissue at the expenses of tissue reconstitution and functionality. Whereas this process can protect from further damage and elicit fast healing, it can lead to functional deterioration in organs such as the heart. Based on the analyses performed in the last years, stem cell therapies may not be sufficient to induce cardiac regeneration and additional approaches are required to overcome scar formation. Among these, the immune cells and their humoral response have become a key parameter in regenerative processes. In this review, we will describe the recent findings on the possible therapeutical use of progenitor and immune cells to rescue a damaged heart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12265-012-9383-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447141PMC
October 2012

Locally expressed IGF1 propeptide improves mouse heart function in induced dilated cardiomyopathy by blocking myocardial fibrosis and SRF-dependent CTGF induction.

Dis Model Mech 2012 Jul 5;5(4):481-91. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

INSERM, U1016, Institut Cochin, F-75014 Paris, France.

Cardiac fibrosis is critically involved in the adverse remodeling accompanying dilated cardiomyopathies (DCMs), which leads to cardiac dysfunction and heart failure (HF). Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a profibrotic cytokine, plays a key role in this deleterious process. Some beneficial effects of IGF1 on cardiomyopathy have been described, but its potential role in improving DCM is less well characterized. We investigated the consequences of expressing a cardiac-specific transgene encoding locally acting IGF1 propeptide (muscle-produced IGF1; mIGF1) on disease progression in a mouse model of DCM [cardiac-specific and inducible serum response factor (SRF) gene disruption] that mimics some forms of human DCM. Cardiac-specific mIGF1 expression substantially extended the lifespan of SRF mutant mice, markedly improved cardiac functions, and delayed both DCM and HF. These protective effects were accompanied by an overall improvement in cardiomyocyte architecture and a massive reduction of myocardial fibrosis with a concomitant amelioration of inflammation. At least some of the beneficial effects of mIGF1 transgene expression were due to mIGF1 counteracting the strong increase in CTGF expression within cardiomyocytes caused by SRF deficiency, resulting in the blockade of fibroblast proliferation and related myocardial fibrosis. These findings demonstrate that SRF plays a key role in the modulation of cardiac fibrosis through repression of cardiomyocyte CTGF expression in a paracrine fashion. They also explain how impaired SRF function observed in human HF promotes fibrosis and adverse cardiac remodeling. Locally acting mIGF1 efficiently protects the myocardium from these adverse processes, and might thus represent a therapeutic avenue to counter DCM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.009456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3380711PMC
July 2012

Increased cardiogenesis in P19-GFP teratocarcinoma cells expressing the propeptide IGF-1Ea.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011 Dec 12;416(3-4):293-9. Epub 2011 Nov 12.

Heart Science Centre, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

The mechanism implicated in differentiation of endogenous cardiac stem cells into cardiomyocytes to regenerate the heart tissue upon an insult remains elusive, limiting the therapeutical goals to exogenous cell injection and/or gene therapy. We have shown previously that cardiac specific overexpression of the insulin-like growth factor 1 propeptide IGF-1Ea induces beneficial myocardial repair after infarct. Although the mechanism is still under investigation, the possibility that this propeptide may be involved in promoting stem cell differentiation into the cardiac lineage has yet to be explored. To investigate whether IGF-1Ea promote cardiogenesis, we initially modified P19 embryonal carcinoma cells to express IGF-1Ea. Taking advantage of their cardiomyogenic nature, we analyzed whether overexpression of this propeptide affected cardiac differentiation program. The data herein presented showed for the first time that constitutively overexpressed IGF-1Ea increased cardiogenic differentiation program in both undifferentiated and DMSO-differentiated cells. In details, IGF-1Ea overexpression promoted localization of alpha-actinin in finely organized sarcomeric structure compared to control cells and upregulated the cardiac mesodermal marker NKX-2.5 and the ventricular structural protein MLC2v. Furthermore, activated IGF-1 signaling promoted cardiac mesodermal induction in undifferentiated cells independently of cell proliferation. This analysis suggests that IGF-1Ea may be a good candidate to improve both in vitro production of cardiomyocytes from pluripotent stem cells and in vivo activation of the differentiation program of cardiac progenitor cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.11.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407877PMC
December 2011

mIGF-1/JNK1/SirT1 signaling confers protection against oxidative stress in the heart.

Aging Cell 2012 Feb 11;11(1):139-49. Epub 2011 Dec 11.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory-Mouse Biology Unit, Monterotondo-Scalo, Roma, Italy.

Oxidative stress contributes to the pathogenesis of aging-associated heart failure. Among various signaling pathways mediating oxidative stress, the NAD(+) -dependent protein deacetylase SirT1 has been implicated in the protection of heart muscle. Expression of a locally acting insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) propeptide (mIGF-1) helps the heart to recover from infarct and enhances SirT1 expression in cardiomyocytes (CM) in vitro, exerting protection from hypertrophic and oxidative stresses. To study the role of mIGF-1/SirT1 signaling in vivo, we generated cardiac-specific mIGF-1 transgenic mice in which SirT1 was depleted from adult CM in a tamoxifen-inducible and conditional fashion. Analysis of these mice confirmed that mIGF-1-induced SirT1 activity is necessary to protect the heart from paraquat (PQ)-induced oxidative stress and lethality. In cultured CM, mIGF-1 increases SirT1 expression through a c-Jun NH(2)-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1)-dependent signaling mechanism. Thus, mIGF-1 protects the heart from oxidative stress via SirT1/JNK1 activity, suggesting new avenues for cardiac therapy during aging and heart failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00766.xDOI Listing
February 2012

IGF-1Ea induces vessel formation after injury and mediates bone marrow and heart cross-talk through the expression of specific cytokines.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011 Jul 20;410(2):201-7. Epub 2011 May 20.

Heart Science Centre, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether supplemental IGF-1Ea transgene expression induces activation of local cardiac and bone marrow stem cell population to mediate mammalian heart repair. In physiologic conditions, cardiac overexpression of the IGF-1Ea propeptide is associated with an enrichment of c-Kit/Sca-1 positive side population cells in the bone marrow and the occurrence of an endothelial-primed CD34 positive side population in the heart. This cellular profile is shown here to correlate with the expression of cytokines involved in stem cell mobilization and vessel formation. This molecular and cellular interplay favored IGF-1Ea-mediated vessel formation in injured hearts. The physiologic and pathologic connection between cytokines and stem cells in response to IGF-1Ea may represent an important model to understand how to elicit endogenous reparative signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.05.081DOI Listing
July 2011

Comparison and critical analysis of robotized technology for monoclonal antibody high-throughput production.

Biotechnol Prog 2011 Mar-Apr;27(2):571-6. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology, CIR, University of Rome Campus Bio-medico, Via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy.

We have previously demonstrated how to transform the conventional method of hybridoma production and screening into a fast, high-throughput technology. Nevertheless, there were still open questions related to automated procedures and immunization protocols that we address now by comparing the hybridoma production work-flow in automated and manually executed processes. In addition, since the animals' antibody responses to single or multiple antigen challenge affect monoclonal antibody throughput, different immunization and fusion strategies were tested. Specifically, the results obtained with multiplexing (multiple target antigens injected into a single animal) and single antigen immunization followed by splenocyte pooling immediately before fusion were compared with conventional methods. The results presented here demonstrate that the optimal protocol consists of automated somatic-cell fusion and hybridoma dilution followed by manual plating of hybridoma cells. Additionally, more specific and productive hybridoma clones were obtained with multiplexed immunization in a single animal with respect to the splenocyte pooling from single antigen immunized animals. However, in terms of overall antibody yield, the conventional method consisting of single immunization for each single animal assured ten times more specific hybridoma cell lines than the strategy based on the multiple antigen immunization followed by separate fusion step. In conclusion, the most productive approach for recovering a large number of suitable antibodies relies on single antigen immunization followed by automated fusion and dilution steps and manual plating.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/btpr.564DOI Listing
September 2011

Local IGF-1 isoform protects cardiomyocytes from hypertrophic and oxidative stresses via SirT1 activity.

Aging (Albany NY) 2009 Dec 10;2(1):43-62. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory-Mouse Biology Unit, Campus A. Buzzati-Traverso, Monterotondo-Scalo, Rome 00016, Italy.

Oxidative and hypertrophic stresses contribute to the pathogenesis of heart failure. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a peptide hormone with a complex post-transcriptional regulation, generating distinct isoforms. Locally acting IGF-1 isoform (mIGF-1) helps the heart to recover from toxic injury and from infarct. In the murine heart, moderate overexpression of the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase SirT1 was reported to mitigate oxidative stress. SirT1 is known to promote lifespan extension and to protect from metabolic challenges. Circulating IGF-1 and SirT1 play antagonizing biological roles and share molecular targets in the heart, in turn affecting cardiomyocyte physiology. However, how different IGF-1 isoforms may impact SirT1 and affect cardiomyocyte function is unknown. Here we show that locally acting mIGF-1 increases SirT1 expression/activity, whereas circulating IGF-1 isoform does not affect it, in cultured HL-1 and neonatal cardiomyocytes. mIGF-1-induced SirT1 activity exerts protection against angiotensin II (Ang II)-triggered hypertrophy and against paraquat (PQ) and Ang II-induced oxidative stress. Conversely, circulating IGF-1 triggered itself oxidative stress and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Interestingly, potent cardio-protective genes (adiponectin, UCP-1 and MT-2) were increased specifically in mIGF-1-overexpressing cardiomyocytes, in a SirT1-dependent fashion. Thus, mIGF-1 protects cardiomyocytes from oxidative and hypertrophic stresses via SirT1 activity, and may represent a promising cardiac therapeutic.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2837204PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.100107DOI Listing
December 2009

A naturally occurring calcineurin variant inhibits FoxO activity and enhances skeletal muscle regeneration.

J Cell Biol 2007 Dec;179(6):1205-18

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Mouse Biology Unit, Campus Buzzatti-Traverso, Monterotondo-Scalo, 00016 Rome, Italy.

The calcium-activated phosphatase calcineurin (Cn) transduces physiological signals through intracellular pathways to influence the expression of specific genes. Here, we characterize a naturally occurring splicing variant of the CnAbeta catalytic subunit (CnAbeta1) in which the autoinhibitory domain that controls enzyme activation is replaced with a unique C-terminal region. The CnAbeta1 enzyme is constitutively active and dephosphorylates its NFAT target in a cyclosporine-resistant manner. CnAbeta1 is highly expressed in proliferating myoblasts and regenerating skeletal muscle fibers. In myoblasts, CnAbeta1 knockdown activates FoxO-regulated genes, reduces proliferation, and induces myoblast differentiation. Conversely, CnAbeta1 overexpression inhibits FoxO and prevents myotube atrophy. Supplemental CnAbeta1 transgene expression in skeletal muscle leads to enhanced regeneration, reduced scar formation, and accelerated resolution of inflammation. This unique mode of action distinguishes the CnAbeta1 isoform as a candidate for interventional strategies in muscle wasting treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.200704179DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140042PMC
December 2007

Enhancing repair of the mammalian heart.

Circ Res 2007 Jun 24;100(12):1732-40. Epub 2007 May 24.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Mouse Biology Unit Monterotondo, Rome, Italy.

The injured mammalian heart is particularly susceptible to tissue deterioration, scarring, and loss of contractile function in response to trauma or sustained disease. We tested the ability of a locally acting insulin-like growth factor-1 isoform (mIGF-1) to recover heart functionality, expressing the transgene in the mouse myocardium to exclude endocrine effects on other tissues. supplemental mIGF-1 expression did not perturb normal cardiac growth and physiology. Restoration of cardiac function in post-infarct mIGF-1 transgenic mice was facilitated by modulation of the inflammatory response and increased antiapoptotic signaling. mIGF-1 ventricular tissue exhibited increased proliferative activity several weeks after injury. The canonical signaling pathway involving Akt, mTOR, and p70S6 kinase was not induced in mIGF-1 hearts, which instead activated alternate PDK1 and SGK1 signaling intermediates. The robust response achieved with the mIGF-1 isoform provides a mechanistic basis for clinically feasible therapeutic strategies for improving the outcome of heart disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.107.148791DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3227120PMC
June 2007

Signalling pathways in cardiac regeneration.

Novartis Found Symp 2006 ;274:228-38; discussion 239-43, 272-6

Mouse Biology Unit, EMBL Monterotondo Outstation, via Ramarini 32, 00016 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy.

Regeneration is a homeostatic mechanism evolved to maintain or restore the original architecture of a damaged tissue by recapitulating part of its original embryonic development. Our focus has been to intervene in signalling mechanisms at work in the regeneration process to increase the efficiency of mammalian tissue repair. In response to traumatic injury, both skeletal and cardiac muscle activate signalling cascades involved in inflammation, cell death and fibrosis, often at the expense of cell survival and regeneration. In contrast, mice expressing a local isoform of insulin-like growth factor 1 (mIGF1) as a muscle-specific transgene maintain skeletal muscle integrity and ageing, counter muscle decline in degenerative muscle disease, and show enhanced stem cell homing to damaged muscle. Under the control of a cardiac-specific promoter, the mIGF1 transgene directs efficient repair of infarcted heart tissue without scar formation. In both models, novel signalling pathways are employed, suggesting specific mechanisms through which mIGF1 improves regeneration and providing potential targets for clinical intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/0470029331.ch14DOI Listing
January 2007

Growth factor enhancement of cardiac regeneration.

Cell Transplant 2006 ;15 Suppl 1:S41-5

Mouse Biology Unit, EMBL-Monterotondo Outstation, Monterotondo (Rome) 00016, Italy.

The potential for endogenous or supplementary stem cells to restore the form and function of damaged tissues is particularly promising for overcoming the restricted regenerative capacity of the mammalian heart. To maintain blood circulation, this essential organ needs to launch a rapid response to repair damage of the muscle wall and to prevent muscle loss. The capacity of growth factors to supplement the repair process has been successfully applied to restore the integrity of damaged skeletal muscle, reducing the fibrotic response to injury, and recruiting local populations of self-renewing precursor cells and circulating stem cells. We review the recent evidence that extension of growth factor supplementation to the heart may overcome its inherent regenerative impediments through improvement of the local tissue environment and stimulation of cell replacement, and we speculate on future research directions for treatment of myocardial damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000006783982287DOI Listing
August 2006
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