Concurrent Isolation of 3 Distinct Cardiac Stem Cell Populations From a Single Human Heart Biopsy

Circ Res. 2017 Jul 7;121(2):113-124. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.310494. Epub 2017 Apr 26.


Rationale: The relative actions and synergism between distinct myocardial-derived stem cell populations remain obscure. Ongoing debates on optimal cell population(s) for treatment of heart failure prompted implementation of a protocol for isolation of multiple stem cell populations from a single myocardial tissue sample to develop new insights for achieving myocardial regeneration.

Objective: Establish a robust cardiac stem cell isolation and culture protocol to consistently generate 3 distinct stem cell populations from a single human heart biopsy.

Methods and results: Isolation of 3 endogenous cardiac stem cell populations was performed from human heart samples routinely discarded during implantation of a left ventricular assist device. Tissue explants were mechanically minced into 1 mm3 pieces to minimize time exposure to collagenase digestion and preserve cell viability. Centrifugation removes large cardiomyocytes and tissue debris producing a single cell suspension that is sorted using magnetic-activated cell sorting technology. Initial sorting is based on tyrosine-protein kinase Kit (c-Kit) expression that enriches for 2 c-Kit+ cell populations yielding a mixture of cardiac progenitor cells and endothelial progenitor cells. Flowthrough c-Kit- mesenchymal stem cells are positively selected by surface expression of markers CD90 and CD105. After 1 week of culture, the c-Kit+ population is further enriched by selection for a CD133+ endothelial progenitor cell population. Persistence of respective cell surface markers in vitro is confirmed both by flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry.

Conclusions: Three distinct cardiac cell populations with individualized phenotypic properties consistent with cardiac progenitor cells, endothelial progenitor cells, and mesenchymal stem cells can be successfully concurrently isolated and expanded from a single tissue sample derived from human heart failure patients.

Keywords: adult stem cells; biopsy; centrifugation; endothelial progenitor cells; heart failure; mesenchymal stem cells.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelial Cells* / physiology
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Heart / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / physiology
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / physiology
  • Stem Cells / physiology