Cardiomyocyte differentiation of mouse and human embryonic stem cells


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    From a paper presented at the International Symposium on Embryonic Stem Cells – Prospects for Human Health, at the University of Sheffield, UK, 10 September 2001.

Dr C. Mummery, Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail:


Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world. Cardiac ischaemia caused by oxygen deprivation and subsequent oxygen reperfusion initiates irreversible cell damage, eventually leading to widespread cell death and loss of function. Strategies to regenerate damaged cardiac tissue by cardiomyocyte transplantation may prevent or limit post-infarction cardiac failure. We are searching for methods for inducing pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into transplantable cardiomyocytes. We have already shown that an endoderm-like cell line induced the differentiation of embryonal carcinoma cells into immature cardiomyoctyes. Preliminary results show that human and mouse embryonic stem cells respond in a similar manner. This study presents initial characterization of these cardiomyocytes and the mouse myocardial infarction model in which we will test their ability to restore cardiac function.