3D-model of adult cardiac stem cells promotes cardiac differentiation and resistance to oxidative stress

T. J. Bartosh, Zhaohui Wang, Armando A. Rosales, S. Dan Dimitrijevich, Rouel S. Roque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The regenerative inadequacy of the injured myocardium leads to adverse remodeling, cardiac dysfunction, and heart disease. Stem cell-replacement of damaged myocardium faces major challenges such as inappropriate differentiation, cellular uncoupling, scar formation, and accelerated apoptosis of transplanted cells. These challenges can be met by engineering an in vitro system for delivering stem cells capable of cardiac differentiation, tissue integration, and resistance to oxidative stress. In this study, we describe the formation of three-dimensional (3D) cell aggregates ("cardiospheres") by putative stem cells isolated from adult dog myocardium using poly-L-ornithine. De novo formation of cardiospheres in growth factor-containing medium occurred over a period of 2-3 weeks, but accelerated to 2-3 days when seeded on poly-Lornithine. Older cardiospheres developed foci of "beating" cells upon co-culture with rat neonatal cardiomyocytes. Cardiospheres contained cells that exhibited characteristics of undifferentiated cells; differentiating cardiomyocytes with organized contractile machinery; and vascular cells capable of forming "vessel-like" networks. They exhibited strong resistance to elevated concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in culture and survived subcutaneous injections without undergoing neoplastic transformation up to 3 weeks post-transplantation. These findings suggest that cardiospheres are potentially useful for delivering functional stem cells to the damaged heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-623
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Cardiospheres
  • Differentiation
  • Endothelial cells
  • Growth factors
  • Oxidative stress
  • Poly-lornithine
  • Smooth muscle cells
  • Spheroids
  • Stem cells


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