Myocardial infarction (MI) produces a collagen scar, altering the local microenvironment and impeding cardiac function. Cell therapy is a promising therapeutic option to replace the billions of myocytes lost following MI. Despite early successes, chronic function remains impaired and is likely a result of poor cellular retention, proliferation, and differentiation/maturation. While some efforts to deliver cells with scaffolds have attempted to address these shortcomings, they lack the natural cues required for optimal cell function. The goal of this study was to determine whether a naturally derived cardiac extracellular matrix (cECM) could enhance cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) function in vitro. CPCs were isolated via magnetic sorting of c-kit + cells and were grown on plates coated with either cECM or collagen I (Col). Our results show an increase in early cardiomyocyte markers on cECM compared with Col, as well as corresponding protein expression at a later time. CPCs show stronger serum-induced proliferation on cECM compared with Col, as well as increased resistance to apoptosis following serum starvation. Finally, a microfluidic adhesion assay demonstrated stronger adhesion of CPCs to cECM compared with Col. These data suggest that cECM may be optimal for CPC therapeutic delivery, as well as providing potential mechanisms to overcome the shortcomings of naked cell therapy.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.