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Cytotherapy. 2008;10(4):376-89. doi: 10.1080/14653240802105307.

Highly enriched cardiomyocytes from human embryonic stem cells.

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ES Cell International Pte Ltd, Singapore.



Current efforts to direct differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) into a particular cell lineage usually lead to a heterogeneous cell population with only a fraction of the desired cell type present. We show the generation of an essentially pure population of human cardiomyocytes from hESC using lineage selection.


A construct comprising the murine alpha-myosin heavy chain (alpha-MHC) promoter driving the neomycin-resistance gene was introduced into hES3 cells to generate stable transgenic lines. Transgenic hESC lines were differentiated into cardiomyocytes and subjected to G418 selection. Both G418-selected and non-selected cardiomyocytes were characterized by immunocytochemistry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. The teratoma-forming potential of differentiated cells was assessed by injection of about 2 million cells into the hind limb muscle of SCID mice. Results After cardiac differentiation and antibiotic selection in a suspension culture process, more than 99% of the transgenic cells showed immunoreactivity to alpha-MHC and alpha-actinin; this enrichment efficiency was observed for independent transgenic cell lines. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed high levels of enrichment for cardiac-specific messages in the selected population. Importantly, injection of selected cells into six SCID mice resulted in no apparent teratoma formation, in contrast to differentiated but non-selected controls.


Our results represent a significant step toward scalable production of pure human cardiomyocytes from stable, expandable hESC lines that will facilitate the development of cell therapies, safety pharmacology and drug discovery.

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