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Department of Biomedical Engineering


The heart is capable of activating protective mechanisms in response to ischemic injury to support myocardial survival and performance. These mechanisms have been recognized primarily in the ischemic heart, involving paracrine signaling processes. Here, we report a distant cardioprotective mechanism involving hepatic cell mobilization to the ischemic myocardium in response to experimental myocardial ischemia–reperfusion (MI-R) injury. A parabiotic mouse model was generated by surgical skin-union of two mice and used to induce bilateral MI-R injury with unilateral hepatectomy, establishing concurrent gain- and loss-of-hepatic cell mobilization conditions. Hepatic cells, identified based on the cell-specific expression of enhanced YFP, were found in the ischemic myocardium of parabiotic mice with intact liver (0.2 ± 0.1%, 1.1 ± 0.3%, 2.7 ± 0.6, and 0.7 ± 0.4% at 1, 3, 5, and 10 days, respectively, in reference to the total cell nuclei), but not significantly in the ischemic myocardium of parabiotic mice with hepatectomy (0 ± 0%, 0.1 ± 0.1%, 0.3 ± 0.2%, and 0.08 ± 0.08% at the same time points). The mobilized hepatic cells were able to express and release trefoil factor 3 (TFF3), a protein mitigating MI-R injury as demonstrated in TFF3−/− mice (myocardium infarcts 17.6 ± 2.3%, 20.7 ± 2.6%, and 15.3 ± 3.8% at 1, 5, and 10 days, respectively) in reference to wildtype mice (11.7 ± 1.9%, 13.8 ± 2.3%, and 11.0 ± 1.8% at the same time points). These observations suggest that MI-R injury can induce hepatic cell mobilization to support myocardial survival by releasing TFF3.

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© The Author(s) 2021. Publisher’s version of record:

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Scientific Reports

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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