Salvianolic acid B-vitamin C synergy in cardiac differentiation from embryonic stem cells

Sunny Sun Kin Chan, Jyh Hong Chen, Shiaw Min Hwang, I. Ju Wang, Hui Jing Li, Richard T. Lee, Patrick C.H. Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Inefficient cardiomyocyte differentiation limits the therapeutic use of embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived cardiomyocytes. While large collections of proprietary chemicals had been screened to improve ES cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes, the natural product library remained unexplored. Using a mouse ES cell line transfected with a cardiomyocyte-specific α-myosin heavy chain promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter, we screened 24 natural products with known cardioprotective actions. Salvianolic acid B (saB), while produced minimal effect on its own, concentration-dependently synergized with vitamin C in inducing cardiomyocyte differentiation, as demonstrated by an increase in EGFP+ cells, beating area in embryoid bodies, and expression of cardiomyocyte maturity markers. This synergy is specific to cardiomyocyte differentiation, and is involved with collagen synthesis. The present study demonstrates the saB-vitamin C synergy in inducing ES cell differentiation into matured and functional cardiomyocytes, and this may lead to a practicable cocktail approach to generate ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes for cardiac stem cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-728
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Council (Grant No. NSC 97IR082, NSC 96-2314-B-006-021), the National Health Research Institutes (Grant No. NHRI EX97-9722SI), and the NCKU Landmark Project (Grant No. 97I006).


  • Cardiomyocyte differentiation
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Natural products


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