Human adipose tissue-derived stem cells exhibit proliferation potential and spontaneous rhythmic contraction after fusion with neonatal rat cardiomyocytes

Roxana Metzele, Christopher Alt, Xiaowen Bai, Yasheng Yan, Zhi Zhang, Zhizhong Pan, Michael Coleman, Jody Vykoukal, Yao Hua Song, Eckhard Alt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Various types of stem cells have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiac function. It is still debated whether fusion of injected stem cells with local resident cardiomyocytes is one of the mechanisms. To better understand the role of fusion in stem cell-based myocardial regeneration, the present study was designed to investigate the fate of human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (hASCs) fused with neonatal rat cardiomyocytes in vitro. hASCs labeled with the green fluorescent probe Vybrant DiO were cocultured with neonatal rat cardiomyocytes labeled with the red fluorescent probe Vybrant DiI and then treated with fusion-inducing hemagglutinating virus of Japan (HVJ). Cells that incorporated both red and green fluorescent signals were considered to be hASCs that had fused with rat cardiomyocytes. Fusion efficiency was 19.86 ± 4.84% at 5 d after treatment with HVJ. Most fused cells displayed cardiomyocyte-like morphology and exhibited spontaneous rhythmic contraction. Both immunofluorescence staining and lentiviral vector labeling showed that fused cells contained separate rat cardiomyocyte and hASC nuclei. Immunofluorescence staining assays demonstrated that human nuclei in fused cells still expressed the proliferation marker Ki67. In addition, hASCs fused with rat cardiomyocytes were positive for troponin I. Whole-cell voltage-clamp analysis demonstrated action potentials in beating fused cells. RT-PCR analysis using rat-or human-specific myosin heavy chain primers revealed that the myosin heavy-chain expression in fused cells was derived from rat cardiomyocytes. Real-time PCR identified expression of human troponin T in fused cells and the presence of rat cardiomyocytes induced a cardiomyogenic protein expression of troponin T in human ASCs. This study illustrates that hASCs exhibit both stem cell (proliferation) and cardiomyocyte properties (action potential and spontaneous rhythmic beating) after fusion with rat cardiomyocytes, supporting the theory that fusion, even if artificially induced in our study, could indeed be a mechanism for cardiomyocyte renewal in the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-839
Number of pages10
JournalFASEB Journal
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

Keywords

  • Action potential
  • Differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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