Fibroblasts Rendered Antifibrotic, Antiapoptotic, and Angiogenic by Priming with Cardiosphere-Derived Extracellular Membrane Vesicles

Eleni Tseliou, Joseph Fouad, Heidi Reich, Leandro Slipczuk, Geoffrey De Couto, Mark Aminzadeh, Ryan Middleton, Jackelyn Valle, Liu Weixin, Eduardo Marbán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Background Cardiosphere-derived cells mediate therapeutic regeneration in patients after myocardial infarction and are undergoing further clinical testing for cardiomyopathy. The beneficial effects of cardiosphere-derived cells are mediated by the secretion of exosomes and possibly other extracellular membrane vesicles (EMVs). Objectives This study sought to investigate the effect of cardiosphere-derived EMVs (CSp-EMVs) on fibroblasts in vitro and tested whether priming with CSp-EMVs could confer salutary properties on fibroblasts in vivo. Methods CSp-EMVs were isolated from serum-free media conditioned for 3 days by cardiospheres. Dermal fibroblasts were primed with CSp-EMVs for 24 h followed by exosomal micro-ribonucleic acid profiling. In vivo, we injected CSp-EMV-primed or -unprimed dermal fibroblasts (or CSp-EMVs) in a chronic rat model of myocardial infarction and defined the functional and structural consequences. Results CSp-EMVs amplified their own biological signals: exposure of "inert" fibroblasts to CSp-EMVs rendered the fibroblasts therapeutic. Intramyocardially injected CSp-EMV-primed (but not unprimed) fibroblasts increased global pump function and vessel density while reducing scar mass. CSp-EMV priming caused fibroblasts to secrete much higher levels of stromal-cell-derived factor 1 and vascular endothelial growth factor and dramatically changed the micro-ribonucleic acid profile of fibroblast-secreted EMVs in vitro. The priming was followed by significant angiogenic and cardioprotective effects. Conclusions CSp-EMVs alter fibroblast phenotype and secretome in a salutary positive-feedback loop. The phenotypic conversion of inert cells to therapeutically active cells reveals a novel mechanism for amplification of exosome bioactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-611
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 11 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac repair
  • conversion
  • exosome
  • growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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