Abstract 5569: Paracrine Effects of Cardiomyocyte STAT3 Determine the Vasculogenic Differentiation Potential of Cardiac Progenitor Cells: Potential Role of Endogenous Erythropoietin
Mice with a cardiomyocyte-restricted knock out of STAT3 (αMHC-Cretg/+; STAT3flox/flox, STAT3-KO) show a continuous decrease of cardiac vascularization and develop heart failure beyond the age of 9 months. We investigated the role of cardiomyocyte STAT3-driven paracrine effects on Sca-1+ cardiac progenitor cells (CPC) in the mouse heart. CPC were immunomag-netically isolated from KO and wildtype (STAT3flox/flox, WT) hearts (age: 3 months). PCR and Western blot confirmed deletion of STAT3 in cardiomyocytes of KO mice, while CPC from KO showed normal expression of STAT3. The total number of CPC per heart was similar between WT and KO mice. FACS analysis revealed a reduced number of endothelial progenitor cells (defined by co-expression of Sca-1, CD31 and CD38, −25%, P<0.05) in CPC from KO compared to CPC from WT. In vitro culture for 4 weeks on fibronectin-coated plates of CPC from KO revealed reduced proliferation (−33%, p<0.01), impaired endothelial cell (EC) tubeformation (monitored with Tie2, eNOS and CD31 immunohistochemistry (IHC), p<0.01) and enhanced adipocyte differentiation (oil red staining and RT-PCR, p<0.05) compared with CPC from WT. Microarray of freshly isolated CPC reflected this differences in EC and adipocyte differentiation on the mRNA level (i.e. EC marker Prostaglandin E Rezeptor-3: 2.3-fold lower; adipocyte marker Lipocalin-2 2.7-fold higher in CPC from KO hearts). Microarray results from whole left ventricular tissue showed a decrease in gene expression of Erythropoietin (Epo) in KO hearts (-9,25-fold). ELISA, IHC and methylcellulose assay confirm expression of active EPO by cardiomyocytes. CPC express high levels of EPO receptor (IHC, RT-PCR). Epo enhanced tube formation and sprouting of EC and attenuated adipocyte differentiation of CPCs from KO. In vivo treatment with Epo rescued impaired proliferation, promoted EC differentiation and attenuated adipocyte differentiation of CPC from KO hearts.
Conclusion: STAT3-dependent paracrine factors from cardiomyocytes regulate proliferation, differentiation and vasculogenic properties of CPCs. Cardiomyocyte derived EPO is an important paracrine mediator that promotes differentiation into EC and attenuates differentiation into adipocytes from CPCs in the adult heart.