In vitro and in vivo cardiomyogenic differentiation of amniotic fluid stem cells

Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2011 Jun;7(2):364-80. doi: 10.1007/s12015-010-9200-z.


Cell therapy has developed as a complementary treatment for myocardial regeneration. While both autologous and allogeneic uses have been advocated, the ideal candidate has not been identified yet. Amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells are potentially a promising resource for cell therapy and tissue engineering of myocardial injuries. However, no information is available regarding their use in an allogeneic context. c-kit-sorted, GFP-positive rat AFS (GFP-rAFS) cells and neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (rCMs) were characterized by cytocentrifugation and flow cytometry for the expression of mesenchymal, embryonic and cell lineage-specific antigens. The activation of the myocardial gene program in GFP-rAFS cells was induced by co-culture with rCMs. The stem cell differentiation was evaluated using immunofluorescence, RT-PCR and single cell electrophysiology. The in vivo potential of Endorem-labeled GFP-rAFS cells for myocardial repair was studied by transplantation in the heart of animals with ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R), monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Three weeks after injection a small number of GFP-rAFS cells acquired an endothelial or smooth muscle phenotype and to a lesser extent CMs. Despite the low GFP-rAFS cells count in the heart, there was still an improvement of ejection fraction as measured by MRI. rAFS cells have the in vitro propensity to acquire a cardiomyogenic phenotype and to preserve cardiac function, even if their potential may be limited by poor survival in an allogeneic setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Cell Transdifferentiation
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Graft Rejection
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / therapy
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Troponin I / metabolism


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Troponin I
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Myosin Heavy Chains