Human cardiomyocyte progenitor cells differentiate into functional mature cardiomyocytes: an in vitro model for studying human cardiac physiology and pathophysiology

Nat Protoc. 2009;4(2):232-43. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.229.


To date, there is no suitable in vitro model to study human adult cardiac cell biology. Although embryonic stem cells are able to differentiate into cardiomyocytes in vitro, the efficiency of this process is very low. Other methods to differentiate progenitor cells into beating cardiomyocytes rely on coculturing with rat neonatal cardiomyocytes, making it difficult to study human cardiomyocyte differentiation and (patho)physiology. Here we have developed a method for efficient isolation and expansion of human cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (CMPCs) from cardiac surgical waste or alternatively from fetal heart tissue. Furthermore, we provide a detailed in vitro protocol for efficient differentiation of CMPCs into cardiomyocytes with great efficiency (80-90% of differentiation). Once CMPCs are rapidly dividing ( approximately 1 month after isolation), differentiation can be achieved in 3-4 weeks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology