Single-nucleus ribonucleic acid-sequencing and spatial transcriptomics reveal the cardioprotection of Shexiang Baoxin Pill (SBP) in mice with myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury
Aim: The Shexiang Baoxin Pill (SBP) has been extensively used to treat cardiovascular diseases in China for four decades, and its clinical efficacy has been widely approved. However, the mechanism by which this is achieved remains largely unexplored. Research attempting to understand the underlying mechanism is ongoing, but the findings are controversial. Here, we aimed to explore the possible mechanism of SBP in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury using heart single-nucleus and spatial ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing. Methods: We established a murine myocardial I/R injury model in C57BL/6 mice by ligating and recanalizing the left coronary artery anterior descending branch. Subsequently, single-nucleus RNA-seq and spatial transcriptomics were performed on mice cardiac tissue. We initially assessed the status of cell types and subsets in the model administered with or without SBP. Results: We used single-nucleus RNA sequencing to comprehensively analyze cell types in the cardiac tissue of sham, I/R, and SBP mice. Nine samples from nine individuals were analyzed, and 75,546 cells were obtained. We classified the cells into 28 clusters based on their expression characteristics and annotated them into seven cell types: cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, myeloid cells, smooth muscle cells, B cells, and T cells. The SBP group had distinct cellular compositions and features than the I/R group. Furthermore, SBP-induced cardioprotection against I/R was associated with enhanced cardiac contractility, reduced endocardial cell injury, increased endocardial-mediated angiogenesis, and inhibited fibroblast proliferation. In addition, macrophages had active properties. Conclusion: SBP improves the early LVEF of I/R mice and has a cardioprotective effect. Through sequencing analysis, we observed that SBP can increase the gene expression of Nppb and Npr3 in the infarct area of the heart. Npr3 is related to vascular generation mediated by endocardial cells and requires further research. In addition, SBP increases the number of fibroblasts, inhibits the expression of genes related to fibroblast activation and proliferation, and increases the transformation of endothelial cells into fibroblasts. These findings will help to indicate directions for further research.
Graphical Abstract Single-cell landscape of SBP treatments in a mouse model of myocardial I/R injury. A total of 75,546 cells from nine mouse cardiac tissues in 3 different groups are projected by UMAP plot. The four colored tracks (from inside to outside) indicate cluster, origin ID, group and cell type. The axis outside the circular plot depicts the scale of the total cell number for each class. The text in each of the four corners show an overview of the role of SBP on cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages respectively. Legends denote the origin ID, group, cell type and cluster.