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Exosomes Derived from Mesenchymal Stem Cells Rescue Myocardial Ischaemia/Reperfusion Injury by Inducing Cardiomyocyte Autophagy Via AMPK and Akt Pathways

Liu, Liang, Xian Jin, Cui-Fen Hu, Rong Li, and Cheng-Xing Shen.
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 43, no. 1 (2017): 52-68.

Background/Aims: Reperfusion after an ischaemic insult might cause infarct extension. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived exosomes could attenuate myocardial remodelling in animal models of myocardial ischaemia reperfusion injury (MIRI), and the present study aimed to explore the related mechanisms. Methods: In vitro, rat H9C2 cardiomyocytes (H9C2s) were exposed to H2O2. Cell viability was detected by the CCK-8 assay, apoptosis was detected by Annexin V-PE/7-AAD staining, ROS production was detected by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry, and apoptosis-related proteins and signalling pathway-related proteins were detected by western blot analysis. Autophagic flux was measured using the tandem fluorescent mRFG-GFP-LC3 assay. MSC-derived exosomes were extracted using the total exosome isolation reagent. Apoptosis, myocardial infarction size, heart function and myocardial LC3B expression were examined in an in vivo I/R model by the TUNEL assay, TTC/Evan blue staining, echocardiography and immunohistochemicalstaining, respectively. Results: In vitro, H2O2 dose-dependently increased ROS production and cell apoptosis in H9C2s and blocked autophagic flux after 3 h of exposure; autophagy gradually decreased thereafter, and the lowest level was detected at 12 h after exposure. MSC-derived exosomes reduced H2O2-induced ROS production and cell apoptosis and enhanced autophagy at 12 h after exposure. In H9C2 cells exposed to H2O2 for 12 h, treatment with exosomes enhanced autophagy via the AMPK/mTOR and Akt/mTOR pathways. Likewise, in vivo exosome injections in rats that underwent I/R injury significantly reduced apoptosis and the myocardial infarct size and upregulated myocardial LC3B expression as well as improved heart function. Conclusions: Our results indicate that MSC-derived exosomes could reduce MIRI by inducing cardiomyocyte autophagy via AMPK/mTOR and Akt/mTOR pathways.

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