Isolation and characterization of mesenchymal stem cells from human fetus heart

Venkata Naga Srikanth Garikipati, Saurabh Pratap Singh, Yamuna Mohanram, Ashwani Kumar Gupta, Deepa Kapoor, Soniya Nityanand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising cells for cardiovascular regenerative medicine. However, their potential may be limited, because of their restricted cardiovascular differentiation potential and decline in their number and functional characteristics with increasing donor age. We have previously shown that rat fetus heart harbors primitive MSCs and administration of these cells improved left ventricular (LV) function after ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats. To evaluate their potential as a new cell type for clinical cardiovascular cell therapy, we have undertaken this study on the isolation and characterization of human fetal cardiac MSCs (hfC-MSCs). Methods MSCs were isolated from the heart of five 14-16-week-old aborted human fetuses and studied for their growth characteristics, karyotypic stability and senescence over successive passages, expression of mesenchymal and embryonal markers by flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry, constitutive expression of cardiovascular genes by RT-PCR, differentiation into cells of the cardiovascular lineage and their immunomodulatory properties. Results The hfC-MSCs grew as adherent monolayer with spindle shaped morphology and exhibited rapid proliferation with an average population doubling time of 34 hours and expansion to up to more than 80 population doublings with maintenance of a normal karyotype and without senescence. Immunophenotyping showed that they had similar phenotype as human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) expressing CD73, CD90, CD105 and lacking expression of CD31, CD34, CD45, HLA-DR. However, hfC-MSCs expressed significantly higher levels of CD117 and SSEA-4 compared to hBM-MSCs. In addition, hfC-MSCs expressed the embryonal markers Oct-4, Nanog and Sox-2 as compared to hBM-MSCs. Further, hfC-MSCs had significantly higher expression of the cardiovascular genes viz. ISL-1, flk-1, GATA-4, NKX2.5 and MDR-1 as compared to hBM-MSCs, and could be differentiated into major cardiovascular cells (cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells). Interestingly, hfC-MSCs markedly reduced T-lymphocyte proliferation with an increased secretion of TGF-? and IL-10. Conclusions Our results show that human fetus heart is a novel source of primitive MSCs with cardiovascular commitment which may have a potential therapeutic application in cardiovascular regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0192244
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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