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Ann Anat. 2010 Sep 20;192(5):314-21. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2010.07.001. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

Bone marrow stromal cells as an inducer for cardiomyocyte differentiation from mouse embryonic stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Histology and Embryology, Institute of Organ Transplants, Reconstructive Medicine and Tissue Engineering, Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto 390-8621, Nagano, Japan. yueratjp@shinshu-u.ac.jp


Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) secrete soluble factors and display varied cell-biological functions. To confirm the ability and efficiency of BMSCs to induce embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into cardiomyocytes, mouse embryoid bodies (EBs) were co-cultured with rat BMSCs. After about 10 days, areas of rhythmically contracting cells in more solid aggregates became evident with bundle-like structures formed along borders between EB outgrowth and BMSC layer. ESC-derived cardiomyocytes exhibited sarcomeric striations when stained with troponin I (Trop I), organized in separated bundles. Besides, the staining for connexin 43 was detected in cell-cell junctions, which demonstrated that ESC-derived cardiomyocytes were coupled by gap junction in culture. The related genes of cardiomyocytes were found in these beating and no-beating EBs co-cultured with BMSCs. In addition, an improved efficiency of cardiomyocyte differentiation from ESC-BMSC co-culture was found in the serum-free medium: 5-fold up-regulation in the number of beating area compared with the serum medium. Effective cardiac differentiation was also recognized in transfer filter assay and in condition medium obtained from BMSC culture. A clear increase in the expression of cardiac genes and TropI protein confirmed further cardiac differentiation by BMP4 and Retinoic Acid (RA) treatment. These results demonstrate that BMSCs can induce cardiomyocyte differentiation from ESCs through soluble factors and enhance it with BMP4 or RA treatment. Serum-free ESC-BMSC co-culture represents a defined in vitro model for identifying the cardiomyocyte-inducing activity from BMSCs and, in addition, a straightforward experimental system for assessing clinical applications.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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