Comparative study of human-induced pluripotent stem cells derived from bone marrow cells, hair keratinocytes, and skin fibroblasts

Eur Heart J. 2013 Sep;34(33):2618-29. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs203. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Aims: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a unique opportunity for the generation of patient-specific cells for use in disease modelling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine. The aim of this study was to compare human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from different somatic cell sources regarding their generation efficiency and cardiac differentiation potential, and functionalities of cardiomyocytes.

Methods and results: We generated hiPSCs from hair keratinocytes, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and skin fibroblasts by using two different virus systems. We show that MSCs and fibroblasts are more easily reprogrammed than keratinocytes. This corresponds to higher methylation levels of minimal promoter regions of the OCT4 and NANOG genes in keratinocytes than in MSCs and fibroblasts. The success rate and reprogramming efficiency was significantly higher by using the STEMCCA system than the OSNL system. All analysed hiPSCs are pluripotent and show phenotypical characteristics similar to human embryonic stem cells. We studied the cardiac differentiation efficiency of generated hiPSC lines (n = 24) and found that MSC-derived hiPSCs exhibited a significantly higher efficiency to spontaneously differentiate into beating cardiomyocytes when compared with keratinocyte-, and fibroblast-derived hiPSCs. There was no significant difference in the functionalities of the cardiomyocytes derived from hiPSCs with different origins, showing the presence of pacemaker-, atrial-, ventricular- and Purkinje-like cardiomyocytes, and exhibiting rhythmic Ca2+ transients and Ca2+ sparks in hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, spontaneously and synchronously beating and force-developing engineered heart tissues were generated.

Conclusions: Human-induced pluripotent stem cells can be reprogrammed from all three somatic cell types, but with different efficiency. All analysed iPSCs can differentiate into cardiomyocytes, and the functionalities of cardiomyocytes derived from different cell origins are similar. However, MSC-derived hiPSCs revealed a higher cardiac differentiation efficiency than keratinocyte- and fibroblast-derived hiPSCs.

Keywords: Cardiomyocytes; Hair keratinocytes; Human-induced pluripotent stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Skin fibroblasts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Reprogramming / physiology
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Hair / cytology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Keratinocytes / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Biomarkers
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • NANOG protein, human
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • POU5F1 protein, human
  • SOX2 protein, human
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Calcium