Clinical trials of stem cell therapy to treat ischaemic heart disease primarily use heterogeneous stem cell populations. Small benefits occur via paracrine mechanisms that include stimulating angiogenesis and increased understanding of these mechanisms would help to improve patient outcomes. Cardiosphere-derived-cells (CDCs) are an example of these heterogeneous stem cell populations, cultured from cardiac tissue. CDCs express endoglin, a co-receptor that binds specific TGFβ family ligands, including BMP9. In endothelial cells, endoglin regulates angiogenic responses and we therefore hypothesised endoglin is required to promote the paracrine proangiogenic properties of CDCs. Cre/LoxP technology was used to genetically manipulate endoglin expression in CDCs and we found the pro-angiogenic properties of the CDC secretome are endoglin-dependent both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, BMP9 pre-treatment of endoglin-depleted CDCs restores their pro-angiogenic paracrine properties. As BMP9 signalling is normally required to maintain endoglin expression, we propose media containing BMP9 could be critical for therapeutic CDC preparation.
- ischemic disease