CCND2 Overexpression Enhances the Regenerative Potency of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Cardiomyocytes: Remuscularization of Injured Ventricle

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Abstract

Rationale:

The effectiveness of transplanted, human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) for treatment of ischemic myocardial injury is limited by the exceptionally low engraftment rate.

Objective:

To determine whether overexpression of the cell cycle activator CCND2 (cyclin D2) in hiPSC-CMs can increase the graft size and improve myocardial recovery in a mouse model of myocardial infarction by increasing the proliferation of grafted cells.

Methods and Results:

Human CCND2 was delivered to hiPSCs via lentiviral-mediated gene transfection. In cultured cells, markers for cell cycle activation and proliferation were ≈3- to 7-folds higher in CCND2-overexpressing hiPSC-CMs (hiPSC-CCND2OECMs) than in hiPSC-CMs with normal levels of CCND2 (hiPSC-CCND2WTCMs; P<0.01). The pluripotent genes (Oct 4, Sox2, and Nanog) decrease to minimal levels and undetectable levels at day 1 and 10 after differentiating to CMs. In the mouse myocardial infarction model, cardiac function, infarct size, and the number of engrafted cells were similar at week 1 after treatment with hiPSC-CCND2OECMs or hiPSC-CCND2WTCMs but was about tripled in hiPSC-CCND2OECM–treated than in hiPSC-CCND2WTCM–treated animals at week 4 (P<0.01). The cardiac function and infarct size were significantly better in both cell treatment groups’ hearts than in control hearts, which was most prominent in hiPSC-CCND2OECM–treated animals (P<0.05, each). No tumor formation was observed in any hearts.

Conclusions:

CCND2 overexpression activates cell cycle progression in hiPSC-CMs that results in a significant enhanced potency for myocardial repair as evidenced by remuscularization of injured myocardium. This left ventricular muscle regeneration and increased angiogenesis in border zone are accompanied by a significant improvement of left ventricular chamber function.

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