Exp Biol Med (Maywood)  237:768 (2012)

Efficient cardiomyogenic differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells by combination of Wnt11 and bone morphogenetic protein 2.

Zhang Z, Li H, Ma Z, Feng J, Gao P, Dong H, Zhang Z.


Wnt11 and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) are key signaling factors for stem cell differentiation into functional cardiomyocytes (CMs). In this study, we elucidate the biological effect of BMP-2 and Wnt11 on bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) that differentiate into myocardial-like cells in a simulated myocardial microenvironment in vitro. A cell co-culture system was established with recombinant Wnt11 treatment of NIH/3T3 cells and CMs. BMP-2 was added in a diverse schedule to induce cardiomyogenic differentiation of BM-MSCs co-cultured under various conditions. The levels of cardiac-specific markers Nkx2.5, α-myosin heavy chain (α-MHC), β-myosin heavy chain (β-MHC) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) were determined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemistry to evaluate cardiomyogenic differentiation. Wnt11 or BMP-2 used on their own to differentiate BM-MSCs resulted in no expression of α-MHC and cTnI. Wnt11 alone in a myocardial microenvironment enhanced cardiomyogenic differentiation. BMP-2 demonstrated a dose-dependent effect on BM-MSC differentiation into myocardial-like cells. Addition of BMP to BM-MSCs at various time points resulted in varying effects on cardiomyogenic differentiation. The combination of Wnt11 and BMP-2 treatment in a temporal manner significantly enhanced cardiomyogenic differentiation of BM-MSCs, with high expressions of α-MHC, β-MHC, Nkx2.5 and cTnI upon co-culture with CMs. Our study demonstrates that the combination of Wnt11 and BMP-2 effectively promotes cardiomyogenic differentiation of BM-MSCs in vitro. The synergistic effect of Wnt11 and BMP-2 on the cardiomyogenic differentiation of BM-MSCs is further enhanced in a myocardial microenvironment.

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