Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane vesicles secreted by most cell types with important roles in cell-to-cell communication. To assess their relevance in the context of heart ischemia, EVs isolated from the AC10 ventricular cardiomyocyte cell line (CM-EVs), exposed to normoxia (Nx) or hypoxia (Hx), were incubated with fibroblasts (Fb) and endothelial cells (EC). CM-EVs were studied using electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), western blotting and proteomic analysis. Results showed that EVs had a strong preference to be internalized by EC over fibroblasts, suggesting an active exosome-based communication mechanism between CM and EC in the heart. In Matrigel tube-formation assays, Hx CM-EVs were inferior to Nx CM-EVs in angiogenesis. By contrast, in a wound-healing assay, wound closure was faster in fibroblasts treated with Hx CM-EVs than with Nx CM-EVs, supporting a pro-fibrotic effect of Hx CM-EVs. Overall, these observations were consistent with the different protein cargoes detected by proteomic analysis under Nx and Hx conditions and the biological pathways identified. The paracrine crosstalk between CM-EVs, Fb, and EC in different physiological conditions could account for the contribution of CM-EVs to cardiac remodeling after an ischemic insult.
Keywords: cardiomyocytes; cellular communication; endothelial cells; extracellular vesicles; fibroblasts; hypoxia.