Optimizing delivery for efficient cardiac reprogramming.
Following heart injury, cardiomyocytes, are lost and are not regenerated. In their place, fibroblasts invade the dead tissue where they generate a scar, which reduces cardiac function. We and others have demonstrated that combinations of specific miRNAs (miR combo) or transcription factors (GMT), delivered by individual lenti-/retro-viruses in vivo, can convert fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes and improve cardiac function. However, the effects are relatively modest due to the low efficiency of delivery of miR combo or GMT. We hypothesized that efficiency would be improved by optimizing delivery. In the first instance, we developed a multicistronic system to express all four miRNAs of miR combo from a single construct. The order of each miRNA in the multicistronic construct gave rise to different levels of miRNA expression. A combination that resulted in equivalent expression levels of each of the four miRNAs of miR combo showed the highest reprogramming efficiency. Further efficiency can be achieved by directly targeting fibroblasts. Screening of several AAV serotypes indicated that AAV1 displayed tropism towards cardiac fibroblasts. Combining multicistronic expression with AAV1 delivery robustly reprogrammed cardiac fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes in vivo.
Kang, MH; Hu, J; Pratt, RE; Hodgkinson, CP; Asokan, A; Dzau, VJ
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