Recent studies have shown a beneficial effect of cardiosphere-derived cell (CDC) therapy on regeneration of injured myocardium following myocardial infarction (MI). While paracrine signaling by CDC secreted exosomes (CDC-exo) is hypothesized to be the principal mediator of improved function, the contribution of exosomes secreted from grafted cells and their mechanisms of action have not been established. Our central hypothesis is that exosomes released by engrafted CDCs directly contribute to cardioprotection. We have previously shown that human CDC-derived exosomes have a primarily anti-apoptotic effect on cardiac myocytes and antiproliferative effect on cardiac fibroblasts. Furthermore, we found that macrophages primed with CDC-exo are polarized towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype with high expression of Arg1. Together, our studies support a role for exosome secretion as a paracrine mechanism of stem cell-mediated cardiac repair in vivo. Using a novel genetic lentiviral knockdown strategy to inhibit neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2), a crucial enzyme in exosome secretion, we will test constitutive inhibition of CDC exosome secretion in vivo, enabling us to achieve our long term goal of determining the functional relevance and mechanism of cardiosphere-derived cell exosomes on the restoration of cardiac function. We will define the role of physiologically secreted CDC-exo on cardiac function post MI, elucidate the contribution of CDC-exo-modulated macrophage polarization on cardioprotection, and define the functional role of exosomal miRNA in CDC-exo mediated effects. In doing so, we aim to identify novel therapeutic approaches to stimulate cardiac muscle regeneration that do not require the administration of stem cell preparations and can potentially enhance the care of patients with both heart failure and prior myocardial infarction. Success in achieving our specific aims is of high impact as there are few pharmacological targets capable of influencing cardiac regeneration. The following proposal details a five-year career development and training plan for Dr. Jennifer Lang, a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, under the mentorship of Dr. John M. Canty, Jr. Her proposal is strengthened by her strong institutional commitment, as evidenced by their financial support and allocation of dedicated research space, technical assistance and access to all core facilities. Her career development plan further leverages the extensive resources offered by the University, the Department, and UB?s CTSA Program to bring together strong practical and didactic training as well as a mentorship committee of experts in animal physiology, myocardial remodeling, nanoparticles, and magnetic resonance imaging. Receipt of an NIH K08 Award will allow Dr. Lang to obtain the necessary support and training needed to develop expertise in the skills essential for her to achieve her long-term career goal of becoming a successful independent investigator.

Public Health Relevance

Ischemic heart disease continues to be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States. This project seeks to identify novel therapeutic approaches and targets to simulate heart muscle regeneration, including those that would not require the administration of stem cell populations. This would enhance the treatment of patients with a wide spectrum of cardiac disease including heart failure and myocardial infarction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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NHLBI Mentored Clinical and Basic Science Review Committee (MCBS)
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Wang, Wayne C
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State University of New York at Buffalo
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Mentkowski, Kyle I; Snitzer, Jonathan D; Rusnak, Sarah et al. (2018) Therapeutic Potential of Engineered Extracellular Vesicles. AAPS J 20:50