Autologous mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation therapy for repair of myocardial injury has inherent limitations due to the poor viability of the stem cells after cell transplantation. Adhesion is a prerequisite for cell survival and also a key factor for the differentiation of MSCs. As a novel prosurvival modification strategy, we genetically engineered MSCs to overexpress tissue transglutaminase (tTG), with intention to enhance adhesion and ultimately cell survival after implantation. tTG-transfected MSCs (tTG-MSCs) showed a 2.7-fold and greater than a twofold increase of tTG expression and surface tTG activity, respectively, leading to a 20% increased adhesion of MSCs on fibronectin (Fn). Spreading and migration of tTG-MSCs were increased 4.75% and 2.52%, respectively. Adhesion of tTG-MSCs on cardiogel, a cardiac fibroblast-derived three-dimensional matrix, showed a 33.1% increase. Downregulation of tTG by transfection of small interfering RNA specific to the tTG resulted in markedly decreased adhesion and spread of MSCs on Fn or cardiogel. tTG-MSCs on Fn significantly increased phosphorylation of focal adhesion related kinases FAK, Src, and PI3K. tTG-MSCs showed significant retention in infarcted myocardium by forming a focal adhesion complex and developed into cardiac myocyte-like cells by the expression of cardiac-specific proteins. Transplantation of 1 × 106 MSCs transduced with tTG into the ischemic rat myocardium restored normalized systolic and diastolic cardiac function. tTG-MSCs further restored cardiac function of infarcted myocardium as compared with MSC transplantation alone. These findings suggested that tTG may play an important role in integrin-mediated adhesion of MSCs in implanted tissues.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology