Molecular medicine reports

The transplantation of Akt-overexpressing amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells protects the heart against ischemia-reperfusion injury in rabbits.

PMID 27151366


Amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) are an attractive cell source for applications in regenerative medicine, due to characteristics such as proliferative capacity and multipotency. In addition, Akt, a serine‑threonine kinase, maintains stem cells by promoting viability and proliferation. Whether the transplantation of Akt-overexpressing AFMSCs protects the heart against ischemia‑reperfusion (I/R) injury has yet to be elucidated. Accordingly, the Akt gene was overexpressed in AFMSCs using lentiviral transduction, and Akt‑AFMSCs were transplanted into the ischemic myocardium of rabbits prior to reperfusion. Any protective effects resulting from this procedure were subsequently sought after three weeks later. A histological examination revealed that there was a decrease in intramyocardial inflammation and ultrastructural damage, and an increase in capillary density and in the levels of GATA binding protein 4, connexin 43 and cardiac troponin T in the Akt‑AFMSC group compared with the control group. A significant decrease in cardiomyocyte apoptosis, accompanying an increase in phosphorylated Akt and B‑cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and a decrease in caspase‑3, was also observed. Furthermore, the left ventricular function was markedly augmented in the Akt‑AFMSC group compared with the control group. These observations suggested that the protective effect of AFMSCs may be due to the delivery of secreted cytokines, promotion of neoangiogenesis, prevention of cardiomyocyte apoptosis, transdifferentiation into cardiomyocytes and promotion of the viability of AFMSCs, which are assisted by Akt gene modification. Taken together, the results of the present study have indicated that transplantation of Akt-AFMSCs is able to alleviate myocardial I/R injury and improve cardiac function.

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