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Exp Cell Res. 2009 Dec 10;315(20):3611-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2009.08.015. Epub 2009 Aug 29.

Electrical stimulation of human embryonic stem cells: cardiac differentiation and the generation of reactive oxygen species.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Exogenous electric fields have been implied in cardiac differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this work, we explored the effects of electrical field stimulation on ROS generation and cardiogenesis in embryoid bodies (EBs) derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC, line H13), using a custom-built electrical stimulation bioreactor. Electrical properties of the bioreactor system were characterized by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and analysis of electrical currents. The effects of the electrode material (stainless steel, titanium-nitride-coated titanium, titanium), length of stimulus (1 and 90 s) and age of EBs at the onset of electrical stimulation (4 and 8 days) were investigated with respect to ROS generation. The amplitude of the applied electrical field was 1 V/mm. The highest rate of ROS generation was observed for stainless steel electrodes, for signal duration of 90 s and for 4-day-old EBs. Notably, comparable ROS generation was achieved by incubation of EBs with 1 nM H(2)O(2). Cardiac differentiation in these EBs was evidenced by spontaneous contractions, expression of troponin T and its sarcomeric organization. These results imply that electrical stimulation plays a role in cardiac differentiation of hESCs, through mechanisms associated with the intracellular generation of ROS.

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