J Tissue Eng Regen Med 2015 Dec 4;9(12):E191-201. Epub 2013 Feb 4.
Department of Biology and Anatomy, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) are widely distributed in different tissues such as bone marrow, adipose tissues, peripheral blood, umbilical cord and amnionic fluid. Recently, MSC-like cells were also found to exist in rat olfactory bulb and are capable of inducing differentiation into mesenchymal lineages - osteocytes, chondrocytes and adipocytes. However, whether these cells can differentiate into myocardial cells is not known. In this study, we examined whether olfactory bulb-derived MSCs could differentiate into myocardial cells in vitro. Fibroblast-like cells isolated from the olfactory bulb of neonatal rats were grown under four conditions: no treatment; in the presence of growth factors (neuregulin-1, bFGF and forskolin); co-cultured with cardiomyocytes; and co-cultured with cardiomyocytes plus neuregulin-1, bFGF and forskolin. Cell differentiation into myocardial cells was monitored by RT-PCR, light microscopy immunofluorescence, western blot analysis and contractile response to pharmacological treatments. The isolated olfactory bulb-derived fibroblast-like cells expressed CD29, CD44, CD90, CD105, CD166 but not CD34 and CD45, consistent with the characteristics of MSCs. Long cylindical cells that spontaneously contracted were only observed following 7 days of co-culture of MSCs with rat cardiomyocytes plus neuregulin-1, bFGF and forskolin. RT-PCR and western blot analysis indicated that the cylindrical cells expressed myocardial markers, such as Nkx2.5, GATA4, sarcomeric α-actinin, cardiac troponin I, cardiac myosin heavy chain, atrial natriuretic peptide and connexin 43. They also contained sarcomeres and gap junction and were sensitive to pharmacological treatments (adrenal and cholinergic agonists and antagonists). These findings indicate that rat olfactory bulb-derived fibroblast-like cells with MSC characteristics can differentiate into myocardial-like cells.