Calcium Ionophore-Induced Extracellular Vesicles Mediate Cytoprotection against Simulated Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Cardiomyocyte-Derived Cell Lines by Inducing Heme Oxygenase 1

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 16;21(20):7687. doi: 10.3390/ijms21207687.


Cardioprotection against ischemia/reperfusion injury is still an unmet clinical need. The transient activation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) has been implicated in cardioprotection, which may be achieved by treatment with blood-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs). However, since the isolation of EVs from blood takes considerable effort, the aim of our study was to establish a cellular model from which cardioprotective EVs can be isolated in a well-reproducible manner. EV release was induced in HEK293 cells with calcium ionophore A23187. EVs were characterized and cytoprotection was assessed in H9c2 and AC16 cell lines. Cardioprotection afforded by EVs and its mechanism were investigated after 16 h simulated ischemia and 2 h reperfusion. The induction of HEK293 cells by calcium ionophore resulted in the release of heterogenous populations of EVs. In H9c2 and AC16 cells, stressEVs induced the downstream signaling of TLR4 and heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) expression in H9c2 cells. StressEVs decreased necrosis due to simulated ischemia/reperfusion injury in H9c2 and AC16 cells, which was independent of TLR4 induction, but not that of HO-1. Calcium ionophore-induced EVs exert cytoprotection by inducing HO-1 in a TLR4-independent manner.

Keywords: HO-1; TLR4; cardioprotection; extracellular vesicles; ischemia/reperfusion injury.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcimycin / pharmacology
  • Calcium Ionophores / pharmacology
  • Cell Death
  • Exosomes / drug effects
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / genetics
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism


  • Calcium Ionophores
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Calcimycin
  • Heme Oxygenase-1