• Cardiomyocyte GSK-3β deficiency induces cardiac progenitor cell proliferation in the ischemic heart through paracrine mechanisms

      Yusuf, Ayesha M.; Qaisar, Rizwan; Al-Tamimi, Abaher O.; Jayakumar, Manju Nidagodu; Woodgett, James R.; Koch, Walter; Ahmad, Firdos; Koch|0000-0002-8522-530X; Ahmad|0000-0001-6530-6068 (2021-08-28)
      Cardiomyopathy is an irreparable loss and novel strategies are needed to induce resident cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) proliferation in situ to enhance the possibility of cardiac regeneration. Here we identify a potential role for glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a critical regulator of cell proliferation and differentiation, in CPC proliferation that occurs after myocardial infarction (MI). Cardiomyocyte-specific conditional GSK-3β knockout (cKO) and littermate control mice were employed and challenged with MI. Though cardiac left ventricular chamber dimension (LVID) and contractile functions were comparable at two week post-MI, cKO mice displayed significantly preserved LV chamber and contractile function vs. control mice at four-weeks post-MI. Consistent with protective phenotypes, an increased percentage of c-kit positive cells (KPCs) were observed in the cKO hearts at four and six weeks post-MI which was accompanied by increased levels of cardiomyocyte proliferation. Further analysis revealed that the observed increased number of KPCs in the ischemic cKO hearts was mainly from a cardiac lineage as the majority of identified KPCs were negative for the hematopoietic lineage marker, CD45. Mechanistically, cardiomyocyte-GSK-3β profoundly suppresses the expression of growth factors (GFs), including basic-FGF angiopoietin-2, erythropoietin, stem cell factor (SCF), PDGF-BB, G-CSF, and VEGF, post-hypoxia. In conclusion, our findings strongly suggest that loss of cardiomyocyte-GSK-3β promotes cardiomyocyte and resident CPC proliferation post-MI. The induction of cardiomyocytes and CPC proliferation in the ischemic cKO hearts is potentially regulated by autocrine and paracrine signaling governed by dysregulated growth factors post-MI. A strategy to inhibit cardiomyocyte GSK-3β could be helpful for promotion of in-situ cardiac regeneration post-MI injury.