Introduction. Elevated midkine (MK) expression may contribute to ventricular remodeling and ameliorate cardiac dysfunction after myocardial infarction (MI). Ex vivo modification of signaling mechanisms in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with MK overexpression may improve the efficacy of cell-based therapy. This study sought to assess the safety and efficacy of MSCs with MK overexpression transplantation in a rat model of MI. Methods. A pLenO-DCE vector lentivirus encoding MK was constructed and infected in MSCs. MSC migration activity and cytoprotection was examined in hypoxia-induced H9C2 cells using transwell insert in vitro. Rats were randomized into five groups: sham, MI plus injection of phosphate buffered saline (PBS), MSCs, MSCs-green fluorescent protein (MSCs-GFP) and MSCs-MK, respectively. Survival rates were compared among groups using log-rank test and left ventricular function was measured by echocardiography at baseline, 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Results: Overexpression of MK partially prevented hypoxia-induced MSC apoptosis and exerted MSC cytoprotection to anoxia induced H9C2 cells. The underlying mechanisms may be associated with the increased mRNA and protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transformation growth factor-β (TGF-β), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1a) in MSCs-MK compared with isolated MSCs and MSCs-GFP. Consistent with the qPCR results, the culture supernatant of MSCs-MK had more SDF-1a (9.23 ng/ml), VEGF (8.34 ng/ml) and TGF-β1 (17.88 ng/ml) expression. In vivo, a greater proportion of cell survival was observed in the MSCs-MK group than in the MSCs-GFP group. Moreover, MSCs-MK administration was related to a significant improvement of cardiac function compared with other control groups at 12 weeks. Conclusions: Therapies employing MSCs with MK overexpression may represent an effective treatment for improving cardiac dysfunction and survival rate after MI.,
Stem Cell Research and Therapy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Zhao, S.-L., Zhang, Y., Li, M.-H., Zhang, X.-L., & Chen, S.-L. (2014). Mesenchymal stem cells with overexpression of midkine enhance cell survival and attenuate cardiac dysfunction in a rat model of myocardial infarction. Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 5(2). doi:10.1186/scrt425