Wnt signaling plays a crucial role in regulating cell proliferation, differentiation and inducing cardiomyogenesis. Skeletal muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) have been shown to be multipotent; however, their potential to aid in the healing of the heart after myocardial infarction appears to be due to the paracrine effects they impart on the host environment. The goal of this study was to investigate whether Wnt11 could promote the differentiation of MDSCs into cardiomyocytes and enhance the repair of infarcted myocardium. MDSCs transduced with a lentivirus encoding for Wnt11 increased mRNA and protein expression of the early cardiac markers NK2 transcription factor related 5 (NKx2.5) and Connexin43 (Cx43) and also led to an increased expression of late-stage cardiac markers including: α, β-myosin heavy chain (MHC) and brain natriuretic protein (BNP) at the mRNA level, and MHC and Troponin I (TnI) at the protein level. We also observed that Wnt11 expression significantly enhanced c-jun N-terminal kinase activity in transduced MDSCs, and that some of the cells beat spontaneously but are not fully differentiated cardiomyocytes. Finally, lentivirus-Wnt11-transduced MDSCs showed greater survival and cardiac differentiation after being transplanted into acutely infarct-injured myocardium. These findings could one day lead to strategies that could be utilized in cardiomyoplasty treatments of myocardial infarction
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.