1. School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2. Interdisciplinary Program for Bioengineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
3. Institute of Chemical Processes, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Rationale: Cardiovascular diseases often cause substantial heart damage and even heart failure due to the limited regenerative capacity of adult cardiomyocytes. The direct cardiac reprogramming of fibroblasts could be a promising therapeutic option for these patients. Although exogenous transcriptional factors can induce direct cardiac reprogramming, the reprogramming efficiency is too low to be used clinically. Herein, we introduce a cardiac-mimetic cell-culture system that resembles the microenvironment in the heart and provides interactions with cardiomyocytes and electrical cues to the cultured fibroblasts for direct cardiac reprogramming.
Methods: Nano-thin and nano-porous membranes and heart like electric stimulus were used in the cardiac-mimetic cell-culture system. The human neonatal dermal fibroblasts containing cardiac transcription factors were plated on the membrane and cultured with the murine cardiomyocyte in the presence of the electric stimulus. The reprogramming efficiency was evaluated by qRT-PCR and immunocytochemistry.
Results: Nano-thin and nano-porous membranes in the culture system facilitated interactions between fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes in coculture. The cellular interactions and electric stimulation supplied by the culture system dramatically enhanced the cardiac reprogramming efficiency of cardiac-specific transcriptional factor-transfected fibroblasts.
Conclusion: The cardiac-mimetic culture system may serve as an effective tool for producing a feasible number of reprogrammed cardiomyocytes from fibroblasts.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, direct reprogramming, coculture, membrane, electric stimulation