Robust cardiomyocyte differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells via temporal modulation of canonical Wnt signaling

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 05/2012; 109(27):E1848-57. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1200250109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offer the potential to generate large numbers of functional cardiomyocytes from clonal and patient-specific cell sources. Here we show that temporal modulation of Wnt signaling is both essential and sufficient for efficient cardiac induction in hPSCs under defined, growth factor-free conditions. shRNA knockdown of β-catenin during the initial stage of hPSC differentiation fully blocked cardiomyocyte specification, whereas glycogen synthase kinase 3 inhibition at this point enhanced cardiomyocyte generation. Furthermore, sequential treatment of hPSCs with glycogen synthase kinase 3 inhibitors followed by inducible expression of β-catenin shRNA or chemical inhibitors of Wnt signaling produced a high yield of virtually (up to 98%) pure functional human cardiomyocytes from multiple hPSC lines. The robust ability to generate functional cardiomyocytes under defined, growth factor-free conditions solely by genetic or chemically mediated manipulation of a single developmental pathway should facilitate scalable production of cardiac cells suitable for research and regenerative applications.

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