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Int J Stem Cells. 2019 Jul 31;12(2):251-264. doi: 10.15283/ijsc18126.

Angiotensin II and TGF-β1 Induce Alterations in Human Amniotic Fluid-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Leading to Cardiomyogenic Differentiation Initiation.

Author information

Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biochemistry, Life Sciences Center, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Electronic Systems Department, Electronics Faculty, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Background and Objectives:

Human amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AF-MSCs) may be a valuable source for cardiovascular tissue engineering and cell therapy. The aim of this study is to verify angiotensin II and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) as potential cardiomyogenic differentiation inducers of AF-MSCs.

Methods and Results:

AF-MSCs were obtained from amniocentesis samples from second-trimester pregnant women, isolated and characterized by the expression of cell surface markers (CD44, CD90, CD105 positive; CD34 negative) and pluripotency genes (OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, REX1). Cardiomyogenic differentiation was induced using different concentrations of angiotensin II and TGF-β1. Successful initiation of differentiation was confirmed by alterations in cell morphology, upregulation of cardiac genes-markers NKX2-5, TBX5, GATA4, MYH6, TNNT2, DES and main cardiac ion channels genes (sodium, calcium, potassium) as determined by RT-qPCR. Western blot and immunofluorescence analysis revealed the increased expression of Connexin43, the main component of gap junctions, and Nkx2.5, the early cardiac transcription factor. Induced AF-MSCs switched their phenotype towards more energetic and started utilizing oxidative phosphorylation more than glycolysis for energy production as assessed using Agilent Seahorse XF analyzer. The immune analysis of chromatin-modifying enzymes DNMT1, HDAC1/2 and Polycomb repressive complex 1 and 2 (PRC1/2) proteins BMI1, EZH2 and SUZ12 as well as of modified histones H3 and H4 indicated global chromatin remodeling during the induced differentiation.


Angiotensin II and TGF-β1 are efficient cardiomyogenic inducers of human AF-MSCs; they initiate alterations at the gene and protein expression, metabolic and epigenetic levels in stem cells leading towards cardiomyocyte- like phenotype formation.


Amniotic fluid; Cardiac; Cell differentiation; Chromatin; Histones; Myocytes

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