Background: Differentiation of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to the cardiac lineage represents a potentially unlimited source of ventricular cardiomyocytes (VCMs), but hESC-VCMs are developmentally immature. Previous attempts to profile hESC-VCMs primarily relied on transcriptomic approaches, but the global proteome has not been examined. Furthermore, most hESC-CM studies focus on pathways important for cardiac differentiation, rather than regulatory mechanisms for CM maturation. We hypothesized that gene products and pathways crucial for maturation can be identified by comparing the proteomes of hESCs, hESC-derived VCMs, human fetal and human adult ventricular and atrial CMs.
Methods and results: Using two-dimensional-differential-in-gel electrophoresis, 121 differentially expressed (>1.5-fold; P<0.05) proteins were detected. The data set implicated a role of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α signaling in cardiac maturation. Consistently, WY-14643, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α agonist, increased fatty oxidative enzyme level, hyperpolarized mitochondrial membrane potential and induced a more organized morphology. Along this line, treatment with the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine increased the dynamic tension developed in engineered human ventricular cardiac microtissue by 3-fold, signifying their maturation.
Conclusions: We conclude that the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α and thyroid hormone pathways modulate the metabolism and maturation of hESC-VCMs and their engineered tissue constructs. These results may lead to mechanism-based methods for deriving mature chamber-specific CMs.
Keywords: PGC1alpha protein; PPARalpha; embryonic stem cells; metabolism; proteomics; thyroid-stimulating hormone.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.