Abstract 120: Identification Of A Novel Adult Smooth Muscle-like Stem/progenitor Cell That Facilitates Formation Of Tissue Engineered Vascular Tissue For Use As Vascular Grafts In Vivo
The aim of this study was to characterise a recently identified adult smooth muscle stem-like/progenitor cell (SMSPC) and exploit the ability to differentiate contractile smooth muscle cells (SMC) from SMSPCs facilitating tissue engineering of small to medium arteries, an approach which is hampered by inadequate sources of, and scale up methodologies for autologous SMCs. We initially identified a novel SMSPC in the bone marrow (BM) of rats that retained classic stem cell-like characteristics (clonogenicity, unlimited self-renewal, high telomerase activity, expression of stem cell markers) whilst expressing low levels of SMC-like transcripts. Spontaneous differentiation favoured a SMC phenotype where ~20-fold increases in calponin and SM-MHC protein expression were observed 10 days post-embryoid body formation, an effect augmented by TGFβ (P < 0.0001). Differentiation of SMSPCs from an undifferentiated state towards contractile SMCs was Myocd-dependent. Overexpression of Myocd in SMSPCs increased their percentage contraction in response to AngII (P < 0.05) and KCL (P < 0.05) and Ca2+ signalling to levels indistinguishable from rat SMCs. Knockdown of SMC-specific repressors resulted in Myocd-dependent SMC differentiation of SMSPCs. Taking advantage of the fact that SMSPCs possessed unlimited self-renewal capacity ex vivo and could be successfully reprogrammed into functional SMCs, we determined the vascular tissue engineering potential of SMSPCs and showed these cells integrate as viable tissue engineered vascular grafts in vivo. Specifically, after 1 month implantation, a Myocd-GFP+/Isl1+ smooth muscle layer was observed in the grafts along with a vWF+ luminal endothelial layer and multi-layered collagen and elastin fibre formation throughout the graft wall. We have recently isolated cells with similar SMSPC phenotype and differentiation potential from human peripheral blood. This study demonstrates that adult SMSPCs derived from rat BM and human blood can be reprogrammed to efficiently generate large quantities of mature contractile SMCs, displaying great utility as a cellular backbone for tissue engineered vascular grafts, making them an attractive source for vascular cell therapy and surgical applications.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.