Non-canonical Wnt signaling enhances differentiation of Sca1+/c-kit+ adipose-derived murine stromal vascular cells into spontaneously beating cardiac myocytes

Nathan J. Palpant, So ichiro Yasuda, Ormond MacDougald, Joseph M. Metzger

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45 Scopus citations


Recent reports have described a stem cell population termed stromal vascular cells (SVCs) derived from the stromal vascular fraction of adipose tissue, which are capable of intrinsic differentiation into spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes in vitro. The objective of this study was to further define the cardiac lineage differentiation potential of SVCs in vitro and to establish methods for enriching SVC-derived beating cardiac myocytes. SVCs were isolated from the stromal vascular fraction of murine adipose tissue. Cells were cultured in methylcellulose-based murine stem cell media. Analysis of SVC-derived beating myocytes included Western blot and calcium imaging. Enrichment of acutely isolated SVCs was carried out using antibody-tagged magnetic nanoparticles, and pharmacologic manipulation of Wnt and cytokine signaling. Under initial media conditions, spontaneously beating SVCs expressed both cardiac developmental and adult protein isoforms. Functionally, this specialized population can spontaneously contract and pace under field stimulation and shows the presence of coordinated calcium transients. Importantly, this study provides evidence for two independent mechanisms of enriching the cardiac differentiation of SVCs. First, this study shows that differentiation of SVCs into cardiac myocytes is augmented by non-canonical Wnt agonists, canonical Wnt antagonists, and cytokines. Second, SVCs capable of cardiac lineage differentiation can be enriched by selection for stem cell-specific membrane markers Sca1 and c-kit. Adipose-derived SVCs are a unique population of stem cells that show evidence of cardiac lineage development making them a potential source for stem cell-based cardiac regeneration studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-370
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank DeWayne Townsend DVM, Ph.D., Eric Devaney MD, Todd Herron Ph.D., and Jennifer Davis for contributing training or insight into the progress of this study. We also thank Omar Yilmaz and Mark Kiel from the lab of Dr. Sean Morrison for assistance with flow cytometry assays. Support was provided by the NIH.


  • Adipose tissue
  • Calcium transients
  • Cytokines
  • Stem cells
  • Stromal vascular cells
  • Troponin I
  • Wnt signaling


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