The effects of membrane potential and extracellular matrix composition on vascular differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Sep 10;530(1):240-245. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.06.149. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


Historically, the field of tissue engineering has been adept at modulating the chemical and physical microenvironment. This approach has yielded significant progress, but it is imperative to further integrate our understanding of other fundamental cell signaling paradigms into tissue engineering methods. Bioelectric signaling has been demonstrated to be a vital part of tissue development, regeneration, and function across organ systems and the extracellular matrix is known to alter the bioelectric properties of cells. Thus, there is a need to bolster our understanding of how matrix and bioelectric signals interact to drive cell phenotype. We examine how cardiac progenitor cell differentiation is altered by simultaneous changes in both resting membrane potential and extracellular matrix composition. Pediatric c-kit+ cardiac progenitor cells were differentiated on fetal or adult cardiac extracellular matrix while being treated with drugs that alter resting membrane potential. Smooth muscle gene expression was increased with depolarization and decreased with hyperpolarization while endothelial and cardiac expression were unchanged. Early smooth muscle protein expression is modified by matrix developmental age, with fetal ECM appearing to amplify the effects of resting membrane potential. Thus, combining matrix composition and bioelectric signaling represents a potential alternative for guiding cell behavior in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Keywords: Bioelectricity; Cardiac progenitor cells; Differentiation; Extracellular matrix; Regenerative medicine; Smooth muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation* / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Swine
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry