David L Geenen
Stem cell therapy, myocardial infarction, mBM-MSCs, connexin-43, gap junction, gap junction intercellular communication
Cardiology | Cardiovascular System | Cells
Harmon, Lauren E. and Geenen, David L., "Intercellular Communication via Gap Junctions Influences Cell Survival During Hypoxia" (2022). Student Summer Scholars Manuscripts. 238.
Stem cell therapy can be beneficial following myocardial infarction. However, when murine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (mBM-MSCs) are injected into the ischemic area, a large percentage of these cells undergo apoptosis resulting in decreased therapeutic benefits. We hypothesize that the loss of these mBM-MSCs is regulated by intercellular channels or gap junctions (GJs) that provide apoptotic signals passed between ischemic cardiomyocytes and mBM-MSCs. Our research aims to attenuate these GJs by suppressing Connexin-43 (Cx43) expression, the predominant channel-forming protein. We will accomplish this by transiently transfecting a Cx43 siRNA into mBM-MSCs. Our data demonstrate that intracellular fluorescent dyes and FACS analysis can quantify cell-cell coupling between mBM-MSCs in co-culture. Disrupting Cx43 expression will identify a potential therapeutic target for increasing the retention of mBM-MSCs following myocardial infarction.