Effects of electrical fields on cardiomyocyte differentiation of embryonic stem cells

J Cell Biochem. 1999 Dec 15;75(4):710-23. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4644(19991215)75:4<710::aid-jcb16>3.0.co;2-z.


The effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on the differentiation of cardiomyocytes in embryoid bodies derived from pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells were investigated. A single direct current (DC) field pulse was applied to 4-day-old embryoid bodies. The electrical field induced a hyperpolarization of the anode-facing side of embryoid bodies and a depolarization at the cathode-facing side. Significant effects of a single electrical field pulse applied for 90 s on cardiomyocyte differentiation were achieved with field strengths of 250 and 500 V/m, which increased both the number of embryoid bodies differentiating beating foci of cardiomyocytes and the size of the beating foci. The 500-V/m electrical field increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), but not [Ca(2+)](i) and activated nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB). A comparable increase in the number of beating embryoid bodies was achieved by an incubation for 1 h with H(2)O(2) (1-10 nM), indicating that the electrical field effect was transduced via the intracellular generation of ROS. Because the radical scavengers dehydroascorbate and pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (APDC) and the NF-kappaB antagonist N-tosyl-L-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone (TPCK) inhibited cardiac differentiation, we assume that ROS and NF-kappaB may play a role in early cardiac development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / radiation effects
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Heart / embryology
  • Heart / physiology
  • Heart / radiation effects*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intracellular Fluid / metabolism
  • Intracellular Fluid / radiation effects
  • Membrane Potentials / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / radiation effects*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • NF-kappa B
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Calcium