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Lupu. M, Khalil M., Andrei E., Iordache F., Hescheler J. Cardiac integration and vasculogenic properties of human umbilical cord blood- and Wharton's jelly-derived progenitor cells . In Proceedings: pp. 80-81, 1st Annual Cambridge Stem Cell Symposium: Pluripotency and Development, Cambridge, July 6-7. 2011.

Abstract: Introduction: The umbilical cord blood (UCB) and matrix (Wharton’s jelly, WJ) are rich sources of self-renewal, multiple-lineage differentiating cells, extensively proposed for cell replacement therapy. However, their ability to participate to cardiovascular tissue restoration has not been thoroughly elucidated.
Objective: We employed a novel coculture system to investigate the capacity of human UCB-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and a novel population of human WJ-derived mesenchymal stem cells (nMSCs) to integrate and/or participate to neovascularization at the level of cardiac tissue.
Materials and methods: EPCs and nMSCs were characterized for the expression of stem/progenitor cell genes and proteins. To assess their integration and/or vasculogenic properties, EPCs and nMSCs were cocultured with either living or ischemic embryonic murine ventricular slices. Human cells tracking within the cocultures was performed by transfection with green fluorescence protein or by immunostaining with anti-human nuclei, mitochondria, vWF, and CD31 antibodies.
Results: EPCs generated vascular tube-like structures only in direct contact with living ventricular slices; no vascular tubes were formed when EPCs were cocultured with ischemic ventricular slices. NMSCs were markedly chemoattracted towards the ventricular slices, integrating robustly into the depth of both living and ischemic cardiac tissue.
Conclusions: Direct interaction between EPCs and the living cardiac tissue is a prerequisite for vascular tube-like structures induction. The functional ability of nMSCs to populate living and ischemic cardiac tissue has been validated in vitro. Understanding the cardiac niche and micro-environmental interactions that regulate EPCs/ WJ-derived cells integration and neovascularization would be essential for applying these cells to cardiovascular regeneration.
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the FP7 - Marie Curie international reintegration grant No. 224888/2008-2010 (M.L.); Romanian Ministry of Education and Research PNCDI-II grants No. 2/2008-2010 (M.L.) and No. 106/2010-2013 (M.L.); Romanian Ministry of Education and Research/German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) bilateral cooperation grant No. 347/2009-2010 (M.L. and J.H.), BMBF grant No. 01GN0947 (M.K.), and joint FP7 capacity grant No. 245691/2010-2013.

Keywords: ventricular slices, umbilical cord blood, Wharton’s jelly, endothelial progenitor cells, novel mesenchymal stem cells, vasculogenesis, cellular integration, ischemic cardiac tissue


Posted by Marilena Plesu (Lupu)


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