Transplantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is safe and may improve cardiac function and structural remodelling in patients following myocardial infarction (MI). Cardiovascular cell differentiation and paracrine effects to promote endogenous cardiac regeneration, neovascularization, anti-inflammation, anti-apoptosis, anti-remodelling and cardiac contractility, may contribute to MSC-based cardiac repair following MI. However, current evidence indicates that the efficacy of MSC transplantation was unsatisfactory, due to the poor viability and massive death of the engrafted MSCs in the infarcted myocardium. MicroRNAs are short endogenous, conserved, non-coding RNAs and important regulators involved in numerous facets of cardiac pathophysiologic processes. There is an obvious involvement of microRNAs in almost every facet of putative repair mechanisms of MSC-based therapy in MI, such as stem cell differentiation, neovascularization, apoptosis, cardiac remodelling, cardiac contractility and arrhythmias, and others. It is proposed that therapeutic modulation of individual cardiovascular microRNA of MSCs, either mimicking or antagonizing microRNA actions, will hopefully enhance MSC therapeutic efficacy. In addition, MSCs may be manipulated to enhance functional microRNA expression or to inhibit aberrant microRNA levels in a paracrine manner. We hypothesize that microRNAs may be used as novel regulators in MSC-based therapy in MI and MSC transplantation by microRNA regulation may represent promising therapeutic strategy for MI patients in the future.
© 2011 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine © 2011 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.