MicroRNA-1 transfected embryonic stem cells enhance cardiac myocyte differentiation and inhibit apoptosis by modulating the PTEN/Akt pathway in the infarcted heart

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):H2038-49. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00271.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 19.


microRNAs (miRs) have emerged as critical modulators of various physiological processes including stem cell differentiation. Indeed, miR-1 has been reported to play an integral role in the regulation of cardiac muscle progenitor cell differentiation. However, whether overexpression of miR-1 in embryonic stem (ES) cells (miR-1-ES cells) will enhance cardiac myocyte differentiation following transplantation into the infarcted myocardium is unknown. In the present study, myocardial infarction (MI) was produced in C57BL/6 mice by left anterior descending artery ligation. miR-1-ES cells, ES cells, or culture medium (control) was transplanted into the border zone of the infarcted heart, and 2 wk post-MI, cardiac myocyte differentiation, adverse ventricular remodeling, and cardiac function were assessed. We provide evidence demonstrating enhanced cardiac myocyte commitment of transplanted miR-1-ES cells in the mouse infarcted heart as compared with ES cells. Assessment of apoptosis revealed that overexpression of miR-1 in transplanted ES cells protected host myocardium from MI-induced apoptosis through activation of p-AKT and inhibition of caspase-3, phosphatase and tensin homolog, and superoxide production. A significant reduction in interstitial and vascular fibrosis was quantified in miR-1-ES cell and ES cell transplanted groups compared with control MI. However, no statistical significance between miR-1-ES cell and ES cell groups was observed. Finally, mice receiving miR-1-ES cell transplantation post-MI had significantly improved heart function compared with respective controls (P < 0.05). Our data suggest miR-1 drives cardiac myocyte differentiation from transplanted ES cells and inhibits apoptosis post-MI, ultimately giving rise to enhanced cardiac repair, regeneration, and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Line
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Fibrosis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Infarction / enzymology
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / surgery*
  • Myocardium / enzymology*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / transplantation*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Signal Transduction
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection*
  • Ventricular Function
  • Ventricular Remodeling


  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn1 microRNA, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Pten protein, mouse
  • Casp3 protein, mouse
  • Caspase 3