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Research of cardiomyocyte precursors in adult rat heart

  • Authors: Bellafiore, M.; Sivverini, G.; Cappello, F.; David, S.; Palma, A.; Farina, F.; Zummo, G.
  • Publication year: 2006
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Stem cells, heart, expression, rat.
  • OA Link:


Recent reports supported the existence of stem cells in adult hearts. However, phenotype and localization of these cells have not been completely described and it is unknown if cardiac regenerative potential differs from one subject to another. The aims of our work were to identify different populations of cardiac stem cells by the analysis of specific markers and to evaluate the expression variability of these markers in 12 adult rat hearts. The expression of CD9, taube nuss and nanog suggests the presence of stem cells from the earliest stages of embryogenesis in adult myocardium. Their different expression could be associated to the degree of stem cell differentiation. CD34 and c-Kit antibodies were used to detect stem cells committed to one or more specific tissue lineages and we found a strong immunoreactivity for CD34 exclusively in the endothelial cells and a low positivity for c-Kit in the interstitium and next to the vessels. Moreover, as c-Kit expression highly differed within all examined hearts, we suggest that cardiomyogenic potential is different among the various subjects. Undifferentiated cells with myogenic-committed phenotype expressing GATA-4 and nestin were found, respectively, in the interstitial and myocardial cells and in few interstitial cells. Therefore, the physiologic turn over of cardiomyocytes may occur in adult hearts as it has been shown in many others organs. The study of myogenic potential could be important to identify markers specific of stem cells in in vivo adult myocardium that may be used to purify these cells and evaluate their regenerative ability.