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Promoting effect of small molecules in cardiomyogenic and neurogenic differentiation of rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Authors Khanabdali R, Saadat A, Fazilah M, Bazli K, Qazi R, Khalid R, Hasan Adli D, Moghadamtousi SZ, Naeem N, Khan I, Salim A, Shamsuddin AA, Mohan G

Received 31 May 2015

Accepted for publication 16 September 2015

Published 24 December 2015 Volume 2016:10 Pages 81—91

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S89658

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Rekha Dhanwani

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan


Ramin Khanabdali,1 Anbarieh Saadat,1 Maizatul Fazilah,1 Khairul Fidaa’ Khairul Bazli,1 Rida-e-Maria Qazi,2 Ramla Sana Khalid,2 Durriyyah Sharifah Hasan Adli,1 Soheil Zorofchian Moghadamtousi,1 Nadia Naeem,2 Irfan Khan,2 Asmat Salim,2 ShamsulAzlin Ahmad Shamsuddin,1 Gokula Mohan1

1Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan

Abstract: Small molecules, growth factors, and cytokines have been used to induce differentiation of stem cells into different lineages. Similarly, demethylating agents can trigger differentiation in adult stem cells. Here, we investigated the in vitro differentiation of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into cardiomyocytes by a demethylating agent, zebularine, as well as neuronal-like cells by β-mercaptoethanol in a growth factor or cytokines-free media. Isolated bone marrow-derived MSCs cultured in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium exhibited a fibroblast-like morphology. These cells expressed positive markers for CD29, CD44, and CD117 and were negative for CD34 and CD45. After treatment with 1 µM zebularine for 24 hours, the MSCs formed myotube-like structures after 10 days in culture. Expression of cardiac-specific genes showed that treated MSCs expressed significantly higher levels of cardiac troponin-T, Nkx2.5, and GATA-4 compared with untreated cells. Immunocytochemical analysis showed that differentiated cells also expressed cardiac proteins, GATA-4, Nkx 2.5, and cardiac troponin-T. For neuronal differentiation, MSCs were treated with 1 and 10 mM β-mercaptoethanol overnight for 3 hours in complete and serum-free Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium, respectively. Following overnight treatment, neuron-like cells with axonal and dendritic-like projections originating from the cell body toward the neighboring cells were observed in the culture. The mRNA expression of neuronal-specific markers, Map2, Nefl, Tau, and Nestin, was significantly higher, indicating that the treated cells differentiated into neuronal-like cells. Immunostaining showed that differentiated cells were positive for the neuronal markers Flk, Nef, Nestin, and β-tubulin.

Keywords: MSCs, cardiomyocytes, demethylating agent, zebularine, neuron-like cells, β-mercaptoethanol

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