We recently reported that, following induction of clumps of pluripotent H1 human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) with activin-A and Bmp4 in defined medium for 5 days, widespread differentiation of rhythmically contracting cardiomyocytes occurs within 3‐4 weeks. In this study, the
same approach was used to assess whether human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), which may theoretically provide an unlimited source of patient-matched cells for transplantation therapy, can similarly undergo cardiomyocyte differentiation. Differentiation of four pluripotent cell lines
(H1 and H9 hESCs and C2a and C6a hiPSCs) was compared in parallel by monitoring rhythmic contraction, morphologic differentiation, and expression of cardiomyogenic genes. Based on expression of the cardiomyogenic lineage markers MESP1, ISL1, and NKX2-5, all four cell lines were induced into
the cardiomyogenic lineage. However, in contrast to the widespread appearance of striations and rhythmic contractility seen in H9 and especially in H1 hESCs, both hiPSC lines exhibited poor terminal differentiation. These findings suggest that refined modes of generating hiPSCs, as well as
of inducing cardiomyogenesis in them, may be required to fulfill their potential as agents of cardiac regeneration.
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