About this Research Topic
The ischemic heart disease represents the first cause of total global deaths worldwide. Despite the intensive research activity conducted so far, clinically relevant treatments to both protect and repair the adult myocardium do not exist. However, research of the past decade has revealed that the myocardium is a heterogeneous tissue that defends itself by releasing paracrine and autocrine factors. In fact, the myocardial intercellular cross-talk regulates the homeostasis between neighbouring cardiac cells in response to ischemic insult by attenuating the loss of cardiomyocytes, by promoting the formation of new coronary microvessels and hampering the formation of fibrous tissue. Exosomes are cell-derived nanovesicles (40-100 nm in size) with the potential to transfer proteins, lipids, small RNAs, messenger RNAs, or DNA between different recipient cells of the heart. Due to their emerging role in myocardial function, exosomes are opening new avenues in the noninvasive modulation of the cardiac injury or repair. All cardiac cell types release exosomes, the content of which varies depending on the tissue microenvironment. Recent findings have demonstrated that exosomes derived from cardiac progenitor cells protect cardiomyocytes bordering the ischemic area. In addition, exosomes derived from cardiac fibroblasts mediate the hypertrophic response of cardiomyocytes chronically exposed to angiotensin II. This Research Topic is aimed: 1) at defining accurate methods to isolate, quantify and characterize exosomes released in the culture medium as well as in the bloodstream, 2) at better understanding the relationship among the amount of released exosomes, the magnitude of the post-ischemic myocardial remodeling, and the onset of heart failure, 3) at assessing the diagnostic role of circulating exosomes at the onset and progression of cardiac injury towards heart failure, 4) at investigating the impact of conventional drugs and co-morbidities on the release and the uptake of exosomes. It also focuses on novel exosome-based approaches to promote successful cardioprotection and myocardial regeneration to improve the health of the world’s population.
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