International journal of cardiology

Exosomal clusterin, identified in the pericardial fluid, improves myocardial performance following MI through epicardial activation, enhanced arteriogenesis and reduced apoptosis.

PMID 26159041


We recently demonstrated that epicardial progenitor cells participate in the regenerative response to myocardial infarction (MI) and factors released in the pericardial fluid (PF) may play a key role in this process. Exosomes are secreted nanovesicles of endocytic origin, identified in most body fluids, which may contain molecules able to modulate a variety of cell functions. Here, we investigated whether exosomes are present in the PF and their potential role in cardiac repair. Early gene expression studies in 3day-infarcted mouse hearts showed that PF induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in epicardial cells. Exosomes were identified in PFs from non-infarcted patients (PFC) and patients with acute MI (PFMI). A shotgun proteomics analysis identified clusterin in exosomes isolated from PFMI but not from PFC. Notably, clusterin has a protective effect on cardiomyocytes after acute MI in vivo and is an important mediator of TGFβ-induced. Clusterin addition to the pericardial sac determined an increase in epicardial cells expressing the EMT marker α-SMA and, interestingly, an increase in the number of epicardial cells ckit(+)/α-SMA(+), 7days following MI. Importantly, clusterin treatment enhanced arteriolar length density and lowered apoptotic rates in the peri-infarct area. Hemodynamic studies demonstrated an improvement in cardiac function in clusterin-treated compared to untreated infarcted hearts. Exosomes are present and detectable in the PFs. Clusterin was identified in PFMI-exosomes and might account for an improvement in myocardial performance following MI through a framework including EMT-mediated epicardial activation, arteriogenesis and reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis.