Author(s): Zaruba MM, Soonpaa M, Reuter S, Field LJ
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Abstract BACKGROUND: C-kit is a receptor tyrosine kinase family member expressed in hematopoietic stem cells. C-kit is also transiently expressed in cardiomyocyte precursors during development and in a rare cell population in the normal adult heart. In the present study, the cardiomyogenic potential of c-kit(+) cells isolated from normal neonatal, normal adult, and infarcted adult mouse hearts was evaluated. METHODS AND RESULTS: Magnetic activated cell sorting was used to prepare c-kit(+) cells from the hearts of ACT-EGFP/MHC-nLAC double transgenic mice. These animals exhibit widespread enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression and cardiomyocyte-restricted nuclear beta-galactosidase activity, thus permitting simultaneous tracking of cell survival and differentiation. A subset of the c-kit(+) cells from double transgenic neonatal hearts acquired a cardiomyogenic phenotype when cocultured with fetal cardiomyocytes (2.4\% of all EGFP(+) cells screened) but rarely when cultured alone or when cocultured with mouse fibroblasts (0.03\% and 0.05\% of the EGFP(+) cells screened, respectively). In contrast, c-kit(+) cells from normal adult double transgenic hearts failed to undergo cardiomyogenic differentiation when cocultured with nontransgenic fetal cardiomyocytes (>18 000 EGFP(+) cells screened) or when transplanted into normal or infarcted adult mouse hearts (14 EGFP(+) grafts examined). A single c-kit(+) cell from an infarcted double transgenic adult heart was observed to acquire a cardiomyogenic phenotype in coculture (>37 000 EGFP(+) cells screened). CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the ability of cardiac-resident c-kit(+) cells to acquire a cardiomyogenic phenotype is subject to temporal limitations or, alternatively, that the cardiomyogenic population is lost. Elucidation of the underlying molecular basis may permit robust cardiomyogenic induction in adult-derived cardiac c-kit(+) cells.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy