Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.324, No.2, 481-488, 2004
Ex vivo differentiation of human adult bone marrow stem cells into cardiomyocyte-like cells
Bone marrow rnesenchymal stem cells have been shown to transdifferentiate into cardiomyocytes after 5-azacytidine treatment or co-culturing with rodent cardiomyocytes. We investigate if adult human bone marrow stem cells can be differentiated ex vivo into cardiomyocyte-like cells (CLCs) independent of cytotoxic agents or co-culturing technique. Sternal bone marrow was collected from 16 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. Mesenchymal stem cells were differentiated in a cardiomyogenic differentiation medium containing insulin, dexamethasone, and ascorbic acid. Differentiation towards CLCs was determined by induced expression of cardiomyocyte-specific proteins. Differentiated CLCs expressed multiple structural and contractile proteins that are associated with cardiomyocytes. Thin filament associated myofibrillar proteins were detected early in the cells, with cardiac troponin I, sarcomeric tropomyosin, and cardiac titin among the first expressed. Some CLCs were found to develop into a nascent cardiomyocyte phenotype with cross-striated myofibrils characterized by a-actinin-positive Z bands after 4-5 passages in differentiated culture. These lineage-defined CLCs may be potentially useful for repairing damaged myocardium. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.