The generation of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived ventricular progenitors and their assembly into a 3-dimensional in vivo functional ventricular heart patch has remained an elusive goal. Herein, we report the generation of an enriched pool of hPSC-derived ventricular progenitors (HVPs), which can expand, differentiate, self-assemble, and mature into a functional ventricular patch in vivo without the aid of any gel or matrix. We documented a specific temporal window, in which the HVPs will engraft in vivo. On day 6 of differentiation, HVPs were enriched by depleting cells positive for pluripotency marker TRA-1-60 with magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS), and 3 million sorted cells were sub-capsularly transplanted onto kidneys of NSG mice where, after 2 months, they formed a 7 mm × 3 mm × 4 mm myocardial patch resembling the ventricular wall. The graft acquired several features of maturation: expression of ventricular marker (MLC2v), desmosomes, appearance of T-tubule-like structures, and electrophysiological action potential signature consistent with maturation, all this in a non-cardiac environment. We further demonstrated that HVPs transplanted into un-injured hearts of NSG mice remain viable for up to 8 months. Moreover, transplantation of 2 million HVPs largely preserved myocardial contractile function following myocardial infarction. Taken together, our study reaffirms the promising idea of using progenitor cells for regenerative therapy. The authors identified a human ventricular progenitor (HVP) population that can expand, differentiate, self-assemble, and mature into a 3D functional ventricular patch in vivo. They demonstrate that transplantation of HVPs under the kidney capsule generated a 7 mm × 3 mm × 4 mm myocardial patch while transplantation following myocardial infarction can largely preserve myocardial contractile function.
Foo, K. S., Lehtinen, M. L., Leung, C. Y., Lian, X., Xu, J., Keung, W., … Chien, K. R. (2018). Human ISL1 + Ventricular Progenitors Self-Assemble into an In Vivo Functional Heart Patch and Preserve Cardiac Function Post Infarction. Molecular Therapy, 26(7), 1644–1659. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.02.012