Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.370, No.3, 450-455, 2008
Electrostimulation induces cardiomyocyte predifferentiation of fibroblasts
Stem-cell therapy has become a promising therapeutic tool for myocardial repair. Cardiac pre-committed cells, which complete their differentiation in the myocardium, may reduce fibrosis and restore muscle function. However, many questions concerning a precise, functional integration of injected cells remain unanswered. Fibroblasts regulate the cardiac extracellular matrix and are the most abundant cell population in an infarcted area. Electrostimulation is a well-known trophic factor and can induce phenotypic changes in myoblasts. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of electrical stimulation to induce pre-commitment of fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes in vitro. Using short-time electrostimulation in a cytokine-free culture system, we induced pre-commitment of two fibroblast cell lines to a cardiomyocyte phenotype. This partial differentiation in vitro may facilitate further differentiation within the cardiac environment and result in better electro-mechanical integration of the therapeutically introduced cells. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.