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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Jun 6;370(3):450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.03.115. Epub 2008 Mar 31.

Electrostimulation induces cardiomyocyte predifferentiation of fibroblasts.

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  • 1Cardiac Regeneration Laboratories, Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 3025 Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA. genovesej@upmc.edu


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.

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