[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To date, there is no suitable in vitro model to study human adult cardiac cell biology. Here, we describe a method for efficient isolation and expansion of human cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (CMPCs) from cardiac surgical waste or, alternatively, from fetal heart tissue. Additionally, we provide a detailed in vitro protocol for efficient differentiation of CMPCs into cardiomyocytes with great efficiency (80-90% of differentiation). Once CMPCs are rapidly dividing (approximately 1 month after isolation), differentiation can be achieved in 3-4 weeks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The myocardium of the developing heart tube is covered by epicardium. These epicardial cells undergo a process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) and develop into epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs). The ingrowing EPDCs differentiate into several celltypes of which the cardiac fibroblasts form the main group. Disturbance of EMT of the epicardium leads to serious hypoplasia of the myocardium, abnormal coronary artery differentiation and Purkinje fibre paucity. Interestingly, the electrophysiological properties of epicardial cells and whether EMT influences electrical conductivity of epicardial cells is not yet known. We studied the electrophysiological aspects of epicardial cells before and after EMT in a dedicated in vitro model, using micro-electrode arrays to investigate electrical conduction across epicardial cells. Therefore, human adult epicardial cells were placed between two neonatal rat cardiomyocyte populations. Before EMT the epicardial cells have a cobblestone (epithelium-like) phenotype that was confirmed by staining for the cell-adhesion molecule β-catenin. After spontaneous EMT in vitro the EPDCs acquired a spindle-shaped morphology confirmed by vimentin staining. When comparing both types we observed that the electrical conduction is influenced by EMT, resulting in significantly reduced conductivity of spindle-shaped EPDCs, associated with a conduction block. Furthermore, the expression of both gap junction (connexins 40, Cx43 and Cx45) and ion channel proteins (SCN5a, CACNA1C and Kir2.1) was down-regulated after EMT. This study shows for the first time the conduction differences between epicardial cells before and after EMT. These differences may be of relevance for the role of EPDCs in cardiac development, and in EMT-related cardiac dysfunction.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 12/2011; 15(12):2675-83. · 3.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that the therapeutic effects of stem cell transplantation following myocardial infarction (MI) are mediated by paracrine factors. One of the main goals in the treatment of ischemic heart disease is to stimulate vascular repair mechanisms. Here, we sought to explore the therapeutic angiogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) secretions. Human MSC secretions were collected as conditioned medium (MSC-CM) using a clinically compliant protocol. Based on proteomic and pathway analysis of MSC-CM, an in vitro assay of HUVEC spheroids was performed identifying the angiogenic properties of MSC-CM. Subsequently, pigs were subjected to surgical left circumflex coronary artery ligation and randomized to intravenous MSC-CM treatment or non-CM (NCM) treatment for 7 days. Three weeks after MI, myocardial capillary density was higher in pigs treated with MSC-CM (645 ± 114 vs 981 ± 55 capillaries/mm(2); P = 0.021), which was accompanied by reduced myocardial infarct size and preserved systolic and diastolic performance. Intravenous MSC-CM treatment after myocardial infarction increases capillary density and preserves cardiac function, probably by increasing myocardial perfusion.
Stem Cell Research 05/2011; 6(3):206-14. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult epicardial cells are required for endogenous cardiac repair. After myocardial injury, they are reactivated, undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) and migrate into the injured myocardium where they generate various cell types, including coronary smooth muscle cells and cardiac interstitial fibroblasts, which contribute to cardiac repair. To understand what drives epicardial EMT, we used an in vitro model for human adult epicardial cells. These cells have an epithelium-like morphology and markedly express the cell surface marker vascular cell adhesion marker (VCAM-1). In culture, epicardial cells spontaneously undergo EMT after which the spindle-shaped cells now express endoglin. Both epicardial cells before and after EMT express the epicardial marker, Wilms tumor 1 (WT1). Adding transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) induces loss of epithelial character and initiates the onset of mesenchymal differentiation in human adult epicardial cells. In this study, we show that TGFβ-induced EMT is dependent on type-1 TGFβ receptor activity and can be inhibited by soluble VCAM-1. We also show that epicardial-specific knockdown of Wilms tumor-1 (WT1) induces the process of EMT in human adult epicardial cells, through transcriptional regulation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (Pdgfrα), Snai1 and VCAM-1. These data provide new insights into the process of EMT in human adult epicardial cells, which might provide opportunities to develop new strategies for endogenous cell-based cardiac repair.
Archiv für Kreislaufforschung 04/2011; 106(5):829-47. · 5.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously we observed that cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (hCMPCs) isolated from the human heart differentiate spontaneously into cardiomyocytes and vascular cells when transplanted after myocardial infarction (MI) in the ischemic heart. After MI, deprivation of oxygen is the first major change in the cardiac environment. How cells handle hypoxia is highly cell type dependent. The effect of hypoxia on cardiac stem or progenitor cells remains to be elucidated. Here, we show for the first time that short- and long-term hypoxia have different effects on hCMPCs. Short-term hypoxia increased the migratory and invasive capacities of hCMPCs likely via mesenchymal transformation. Although long-term exposure to low oxygen levels did not induce differentiation of hCMPCs into mature cardiomyocytes or endothelial cells, it did increase their proliferation, stimulated the secretome of the cells which was shifted to a more anti-inflammatory profile and dampened the migration by altering matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) modulators. Interestingly, hypoxia greatly induced the expression of the extracellular matrix modulator thrombospondin-2 (TSP-2). Knockdown of TSP-2 resulted in increased proliferation, migration and MMP activity. In conclusion, short exposure to hypoxia increases migratory and invasive capacities of hCMPCs and prolonged exposure induces proliferation, an angiogenic secretion profile and dampens migration, likely controlled by TSP-2.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 02/2011; 15(12):2723-34. · 3.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (Pdgfralpha) identifies cardiac progenitor cells in the posterior part of the second heart field. We aim to elucidate the role of Pdgfralpha in this region. Hearts of Pdgfralpha-deficient mouse embryos (E9.5-E14.5) showed cardiac malformations consisting of atrial and sinus venosus myocardium hypoplasia, including venous valves and sinoatrial node. In vivo staining for Nkx2.5 showed increased myocardial expression in Pdgfralpha mutants, confirmed by Western blot analysis. Due to hypoplasia of the primary atrial septum, mesenchymal cap, and dorsal mesenchymal protrusion, the atrioventricular septal complex failed to fuse. Impaired epicardial development and severe blebbing coincided with diminished migration of epicardium-derived cells and myocardial thinning, which could be linked to increased WT1 and altered alpha4-integrin expression. Our data provide novel insight for a possible role for Pdgfralpha in transduction pathways that lead to repression of Nkx2.5 and WT1 during development of posterior heart field-derived cardiac structures.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myocardial infarction is the major cause of death in western countries due to impaired function of the heart, which is the result of cardiomyocyte death and fibrotic scar formation. The endogenous regenerative capacity of the heart is unable to replenish this significant loss of tissue and conventional medical management cannot correct the underlying defects in cardiac muscle cell number. Recently, tremendous effort is being put into the development of cell transplantation protocol for heart repair, which has been put forward as an alternative therapy to reduce cell damage, cardiomyocyte death and improve tissue contraction. Unfortunately the ideal stem cell population for heart repair has not been identified to date, but several characteristics are defined which the ideal population should have namely, reduce cell damage, reduce cardiomyocyte death, induce differentiation into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, and improve tissue contraction. It is unclear whether this will be possible in one optimal population. Therefore the research focus is shifting towards improving the characteristics of the stem cell populations that are identified to date. In this review, we will give an overview of the different stem/progenitor cell populations and their application in cardiac repair and discuss current knowledge on issues like differentiation capacity, paracrine secretion profile, genetic modification of progenitor cells and their influence on cardiac remodeling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult human epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs), transplanted into the infarcted heart, are known to improve cardiac function, mainly through paracrine protection of the surrounding tissue. We hypothesized that this effect might be further improved if these supportive EPDCs were combined with cells that could possibly supply the ischemic heart with new cardiomyocytes. Therefore, we transplanted EPDCs together with cardiomyocyte progenitor cells that can generate mature cardiomyocytes in vitro.
EPDCs and cardiomyocyte progenitor cells were isolated from human adult atrial appendages, expanded in culture, and transplanted separately or together into the infarcted mouse myocardium (total cell number, 4x10(5)). Cardiac function was determined 6 weeks later (9.4T MRI). Coculturing increased proliferation rate and production of several growth factors, indicating a mutual effect. Cotransplantation resulted in further improvement of cardiac function compared with single cell-type recipients (P<0.05), which themselves demonstrated better function than vehicle-injected controls (P<0.05). However, in contrast to our hypothesis, no graft-derived cardiomyocytes were observed within the 6-week survival, supporting that not only EPDCs but also cardiomyocyte progenitor cells acted in a paracrine manner. Because injected cell number and degree of engraftment were similar between groups, the additional functional improvement in the cotransplantation group cannot be explained by an increased amount of secreted factors but rather by an altered type of secretion.
EPDCs and cardiomyocyte progenitor cells synergistically improve cardiac function after myocardial infarction, probably instigated by complementary paracrine actions. Our results demonstrate for the first time that synergistically acting cells hold great promise for future clinical regeneration therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, resident cardiac progenitor cells have been identified in, and isolated from the rodent heart. These cells show the potential to form cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo and could potentially be used as a source for cardiac repair. However, previously described cardiac progenitor cell populations show immature development and need co-culture with neonatal rat cardiomyocytes in order to differentiate in vitro. Here we describe the localisation, isolation, characterisation, and differentiation of cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (CMPCs) isolated from the human heart.
hCMPCs were identified in human hearts based on Sca-1 expression. These cells were isolated, and FACS, RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry were used to determine their baseline characteristics. Cardiomyogenic differentiation was induced by stimulation with 5-azacytidine.
hCMPCs were localised within the atria, atrioventricular region, and epicardial layer of the foetal and adult human heart. In vitro, hCMPCs could be induced to differentiate into cardiomyocytes and formed spontaneously beating aggregates, without the need for co-culture with neonatal cardiomyocytes.
The human heart harbours a pool of resident cardiomyocyte progenitor cells, which can be expanded and differentiated in vitro. These cells may provide a suitable source for cardiac regeneration cell therapy. (Neth Heart J 2008;16:163-9.).
Netherlands heart journal: monthly journal of the Netherlands Society of Cardiology and the Netherlands Heart Foundation 06/2008; 16(5):163-9. · 2.26 Impact Factor