Research Topic

Wireless Intercellular Communications in Cardiac Pathology: The Role of Exosomes

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Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer in the United States. One of the major factors responsible for CVD is myocardial infarction (MI; aka Heart Attack), which occurs due to the blockade of coronary arteries leading to heart failure. Although pharmacological and surgical treatments are ...

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer in the United States. One of the major factors responsible for CVD is myocardial infarction (MI; aka Heart Attack), which occurs due to the blockade of coronary arteries leading to heart failure. Although pharmacological and surgical treatments are available to improve the heart function, none of these treatments can replace or regenerate the damaged cardiomyocytes in the heart post-MI. The adult heart is composed of cardiomyocytes that have very low or limited capability to regenerate after a MI. Therefore, cell-therapy or cellular cardiomyoplasty is rapidly growing as a potential gateway to repairing and regenerating damaged heart tissue.

It has been more than two decades since various adult stem cells have been tested in the clinic for cardiac repair. Since then, only modest improvements in cardiac function following stem cell transplantation have been noted and the improvements were attributed mostly due to the paracrine factors released by the stem cells. The major impediment to cell therapy for ischemic heart failure is due to poor survival of transplanted stem cells in the ischemic heart. Most recently, biomaterials like hydrogel, fibrin and nanofiber scaffolds have been used to improve the transplanted cell survival in the ischemic heart. However, there is an unmet need to improve the biological properties of these biomaterials to match the mechanical properties of the heart and prevent host-tissue inflammatory response.

Due to the growing challenges with cellular therapy, recent focus has shifted towards acellular or cell-free therapy. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that exosomes/extracellular vesicles released by the stem cells are involved in cell-cell communication and has a great potential to repair the damaged heart and promote angiogenesis. Indeed, therapeutic angiogenesis that promotes blood vessel formation has been proved to be a unifying strategy for all these regenerative methods, where the newly generated cardiomyocytes need a new source of oxygenated blood. Moreover, exosomes have been shown to carry angiogenic factors that can promote new blood vessel formation. However, a major challenge remains as to purify and identify novel signaling molecules in these exosomes’ cargo.

The main theme of this Research Topic is to address current paradigms in stem cell-based exosomes for therapy and strategies to promote angiogenesis in the ischemic heart. We would like to invite you to submit original research and review articles. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
• Stem cells
• Exosomes/Extraceullar vesicles
• Angiogenesis
• Cardiac repair
• Paracrine signaling
• MicroRNAs


Keywords: stem cells, exosomes, angiogenesis, cardiac repair, paracrine


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