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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2012 Jul 15;303(2):C115-25. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00326.2011. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Regulation of cell proliferation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells via ether-à-go-go 1 (hEAG1) potassium channel.

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  • 1Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


The successful generation of a high yield of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may represent an unlimited cell source with superior therapeutic benefits for tissue regeneration to bone marrow (BM)-derived MSCs. We investigated whether the differential expression of ion channels in iPSC-MSCs was responsible for their higher proliferation capacity than BM-MSCs. The expression of ion channels for K(+), Na(+), Ca(2+), and Cl(-) was examined by RT-PCR. The electrophysiological properties of iPSC-MSCs and BM-MSCs were then compared by patch-clamp experiments to verify their functional roles. Significant mRNA expression of ion channel genes including KCa1.1, KCa3.1, KCNH1, Kir2.1, SCN9A, CACNA1C, and Clcn3 was observed in both human iPSC-MSCs and BM-MSCs, whereas Kir2.2 and Kir2.3 were only detected in human iPSC-MSCs. Five types of currents [big-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) current (BK(Ca)), delayed rectifier K(+) current (IK(DR)), inwardly rectifying K(+) current (I(Kir)), Ca(2+)-activated K(+) current (IK(Ca)), and chloride current (I(Cl))] were found in iPSC-MSCs (83%, 47%, 11%, 5%, and 4%, respectively) but only four of them (BK(Ca), IK(DR), I(Kir), and IK(Ca)) were identified in BM-MSCs (76%, 25%, 22%, and 11%, respectively). Cell proliferation was examined with MTT or bromodeoxyuridine assay, and doubling times were 2.66 and 3.72 days for iPSC-MSCs and BM-MSCs, respectively, showing a 1.4-fold discrepancy. Blockade of IK(DR) with short hairpin RNA or human ether-à-go-go 1 (hEAG1) channel blockers, 4-AP and astemizole, significantly reduced the rate of proliferation of human iPSC-MSCs. These treatments also decreased the rate of proliferation of human BM-MSCs albeit to a lesser extent. These findings demonstrate that the hEAG1 channel plays a crucial role in controlling the proliferation rate of human iPSC-MSCs and to a lesser extent in BM-MSCs.

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