Stem cell-derived exosome patch with coronary artery bypass graft restores cardiac function in chronically ischemic porcine myocardium

Rishav Aggarwal, Annie Shao, Koray N. Potel, Simon W. So, Cory M. Swingen, Christin A. Wright, Laura L. Hocum Stone, Edward O. McFalls, Tammy A. Butterick, Rosemary F. Kelly

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Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether or not the application of a stem cell-derived exosome-laden collagen patch (EXP) during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) can recover cardiac function by modulating mitochondrial bioenergetics and myocardial inflammation in hibernating myocardium (HIB), which is defined as myocardium with reduced blood flow and function that retains viability and variable contractile reserve. Methods: In vitro methods involved exposing H9C2 cardiomyocytes to hypoxia followed by normoxic coculture with porcine mesenchymal stem cells. Mitochondrial respiration was measured using Seahorse assay. GW4869, an exosomal release antagonist, was used to determine the effect of mesenchymal stem cells-derived exosomal signaling on cardiomyocyte recovery. Total exosomal RNA was isolated and differential micro RNA expression determined by sequencing. In vivo studies comprised 48 Yorkshire-Landrace juvenile swine (6 normal controls, 17 HIB, 19 CABG, and 6 CABG + EXP), which were compared for physiologic and metabolic changes. HIB was created by placing a constrictor on the proximal left anterior descending artery, causing significant stenosis but preserved viability by 12 weeks. CABG was performed with or without mesenchymal stem cells-derived EXP application and animals recovered for 4 weeks. Before terminal procedure, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at rest, and with low-dose dobutamine, assessed diastolic relaxation, systolic function, graft patency, and myocardial viability. Tissue studies of inflammation, fibrosis, and mitochondrial morphology were performed posttermination. Results: In vitro data demonstrated improved cardiomyocyte mitochondrial respiration upon coculture with MSCs that was blunted when adding the exosomal antagonist GW4869. RNA sequencing identified 8 differentially expressed micro RNAs in normoxia vs hypoxia-induced exosomes that may modulate the expression of key mitochondrial (peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha and adenosine triphosphate synthase) and inflammatory mediators (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells, interferon gamma, and interleukin 1β). In vivo animal magnetic resonance imaging studies demonstrated regional systolic function and diastolic relaxation to be improved with CABG + EXP compared with HIB (P = .02 and P = .02, respectively). Histologic analysis showed increased interstitial fibrosis and inflammation in HIB compared with CABG + EXP. Electron microscopy demonstrated increased mitochondrial area, perimeter, and aspect ratio in CABG + EXP compared with HIB or CABG alone (P < .0001). Conclusions: Exosomes recovered cardiomyocyte mitochondrial respiration and reduced myocardial inflammation through paracrine signaling, resulting in improved cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e512-e530
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery


  • PGC1α
  • bioenergetics
  • diastolic dysfunction
  • exosomes
  • hibernating myocardium
  • mesenchymal stem cell
  • micro RNAs
  • mitochondrial respiration


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