Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can contribute to the regeneration of different tissues by differentiating into a wide variety of cell types, including cardiomyocytes, adipocytes and endothelial cells among others. MSCs represent a reliable source of adult stem cells in humans. A recent report suggests that MSCs concentrate around blood vessels, although the MSC natural microenvironment (niche) is not completely understood.
In this project, we aim to study the biology of Bone Marrow derived stem cells (BM-MSCs) and Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) in their niche and exploit this knowledge for the treatment of myocardial infarction. We will analyze the interaction of these two types of MSCs with blood vessels, identify the molecules involved and compare which one is more effective for cardiac regeneration. Objectives: 1) Determine the effect of blood vessel-derived cells on human and mouse MSCs; 2) Define the interactions between MSCs and blood vessel-derived cells in the human and mouse MSC niche, including the identification of the molecules mediating direct cell contact and the soluble factors mediating the paracrine effect of blood vessels; 3) Determine the role of the identified factors in the MSC niche in vitro and in vivo by using recombinant proteins and neutralizing antibodies; 4) Compare the potential of BM-MSCs versus ASCs for myocardial regeneration and repair, and investigate the capacity of the identified factor s to enhance this potential. The results will contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of myocardial infarction.
The project will provide specific training for the researcher in the field of human stem cells, cardiovascular research and general issues related to clinical as well as basic human research that will help the transition of her career into translational research.
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