Tissue-engineered 3-dimensional (3D) microenvironment enhances the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes by microRNAs.
We have recently shown that a combination of microRNAs, miR combo, can directly reprogram cardiac fibroblasts into functional cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo. Reprogramming of cardiac fibroblasts by miR combo in vivo is associated with improved cardiac function following myocardial infarction. However, the efficiency of direct reprogramming in vitro is relatively modest and new strategies beyond the traditional two-dimensional (2D) culture should be identified to improve reprogramming process. Here, we report that a tissue-engineered three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel environment enhanced miR combo reprogramming of neonatal cardiac and tail-tip fibroblasts. This was associated with significantly increased MMPs expression in 3D vs. 2D cultured cells, while pharmacological inhibition of MMPs blocked the effect of the 3D culture on enhanced miR combo mediated reprogramming. We conclude that 3D tissue-engineered environment can enhance the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts to cardiomyocytes via a MMP-dependent mechanism.
Li, Y; Dal-Pra, S; Mirotsou, M; Jayawardena, TM; Hodgkinson, CP; Bursac, N; Dzau, VJ
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