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Murine Es-derived cardiomyocytes form grafts and improve cardiac function in the infarcted myocardium


embryonic stem cells (ESC) readily differentiate into cardiac lineage making them a potential source of transportable cells for myocardial regeneration. However the low yield of ESC-derived cardiomyocytes (ESC-CMs) using the conventional differentiation method makes it difficult to perform in vivo study and low enrichment of CMs leads to concerns of teratoma formation.


a murine ESC line containing puromycin resistance gene under control of a cardiac specific promoter, sodium calcium exchanger (NCX) was used to generate ESC-CMs. ESC-CMs were labeled with Superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) for MRI detection. Reperfused myocardial infarction was induced in athymic rats. Infarction size was estimated by MRI post-op day1 to exclude animals with infarct size smaller than 10% or larger than 35%of the LV volume. At post-op day 7, labeled ESC-CMs (5–10 millions) were injected into infarction region. Control group was injected with vehicle. MRI scan was performed at post-op day 8 to confirm successful CM cell transplantation. Global cardiac function in ESC-CM and vehicle treated animals was assessed by MRI for 2 months. Immunohistology staining and electrophysiology were performed on postmortem hearts and ESC-CMs, respectively.


a high yield of ESC-CMs was achieved with positive cardiac specific alpha-actinin in more than 90% of cells. The low proliferative capacity of ESC-CMs allows them to retain SPIO for serial MRI tracking. LV ejection fraction in ESC-CM treated rats at 1- and 2-month is significantly higher than that in the controls. IHC demonstrated formation of grafts in the host myocardium and gap junctions between grafted ESC-CMs and host CMs. See Figure 1.

Figure 1
figure 1

Left-ventricular ejection fraction LVEF changes. The rats treated with ESCM showed much higher the increase of LVEF change than the control rats both at 1 month (p = 0.0003) and 2 months (p = 0.000048), while the infarction size at the day 1 post-op was no significant difference between two groups (20.02 ± 3.11 v.s 19.09 ± 4.72, p = 0.65).


Large numbers of highly pure ESC-CMs were obtained. Preliminary results suggest that ESC-CMs form grafts and improve LV function in the infarcted hearts.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Zhang, H., Qiao, H., Yamanaka, S. et al. Murine Es-derived cardiomyocytes form grafts and improve cardiac function in the infarcted myocardium. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 11 (Suppl 1), P174 (2009).

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