Aims: Mouse and human fibroblasts can be directly reprogrammed to pluripotency by the ectopic expression of four transcription factors (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc) to yield induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cells can be generated even without the expression of c-Myc. The present study examined patterns of differentiation of mouse iPS cells into cardiomyocytes in three different cell lines reprogrammed by three or four factors.
Methods and results: During the induction of differentiation on feeder-free gelatinized dishes, genes involved in cardiogenesis were expressed as in embryonic stem cells and myogenic contraction occurred in two iPS cell lines. However, in one iPS cell line (20D17) generated by four factors, the expression of cardiac-specific genes and the beating activity were extremely low. Treating iPS cells with trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, increased Nkx2.5 expression in all iPS cell lines. While the basal Nkx2.5 expression was very low in 20D17, the TSA-induced increase was the greatest. TSA also induced the expression of contractile proteins in 20D17. Furthermore, we demonstrated the increased mRNA level of Oct3/4 and nuclear protein level of HDAC4 in 20D17 compared with the other two iPS cell lines. DNA microarray analysis identified genes whose expression is up- or down-regulated in 20D17.
Conclusions: Mouse iPS cells differentiate into cardiomyocytes in a cell line-dependent manner. TSA induces myocardial differentiation in mouse iPS cells and might be useful to overcome cell line variation in the differentiation efficiency.