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Notch1 Signaling Stimulates Proliferation of Immature Cardiomyocytes

Chiara Collesi, Lorena Zentilin, Gianfranco Sinagra and Mauro Giacca
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 183, No. 1 (Oct. 6, 2008), pp. 117-128
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20476165
Page Count: 12
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Notch1 Signaling Stimulates Proliferation of Immature Cardiomyocytes
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Abstract

The identification of the molecular mechanisms controlling cardiomyocyte proliferation during the embryonic, fetal, and early neonatal life appears of paramount interest in regard to exploiting this information to promote cardiac regeneration. Here, we show that the proliferative potential of neonatal rat cardiomyocytes is powerfully stimulated by the sustained activation of the Notch pathway. We found that Notch1 is expressed in proliferating ventricular immature cardiac myocytes (ICMs) both in vitro and in vivo, and that the number of Notch1-positive cells in the heart declines with age. Notch1 expression in ICMs paralleled the expression of its Jagged1 ligand on non-myocyte supporting cells. The inhibition of Notch signaling in ICMs blocked their proliferation and induced apoptosis; in contrast, its activation by Jagged1 or by the constitutive expression of its activated form using an adeno-associated virus markedly stimulated proliferative signaling and promoted ICM expansion. Maintenance or reactivation of Notch signaling in cardiac myocytes might represent an interesting target for innovative regenerative therapy.

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