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J Struct Biol. 2007 Jun;158(3):307-17. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Structural differentiation, proliferation, and association of human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in vitro and in their extracardiac tissues.

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  • 1Department of Histology and Embryology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.


The proliferation, structural differentiation, and capacity of association of human ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes were assessed in culture and in extracardiac graft tissues. Embryoid body (EB) outgrowths having cardiomyocytes, and their transplants in mice retroperitoneum or renal subcapsular region were analyzed mainly by immunochemistry. During the culture of EB outgrowths, colonies of cardiomyocytes grew in size exhibiting synchronized beatings. Subcellular structures of those cardiomyocytes involved in the contraction, hormone production, and intercellular integration differentiated with distinct immunoreactivity for constituent proteins/peptides. Judging from PCNA staining, proliferation potential was maintained in part for more than 70 days. In teratoma tissues on post-transplantation Day 7, cardiomyocytes maintained their integration with connexin 43 and cadherin at their junctions. They partly exhibited strong PCNA reactivity. On Day 28, large part of the cardiomyocytes lost their association, dispersing among non-cardiac cells without discernible cadherin reactivity. Proliferation potential was generally low irrespective of their tissue diversity. From these results, structural differentiation and active proliferation of human ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes occurred in vitro, maintaining their association. When developed in extracardiac tissues, however, the cardiomyocytes showed low proliferation potential and reduced cellular integration. This leads to the proposal that some procedure will be necessary to accelerate or maintain the proliferation of cardiomyocytes in vivo.

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