(19)
(11)EP 2 580 317 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
23.12.2020 Bulletin 2020/52

(21)Application number: 10853137.7

(22)Date of filing:  11.11.2010
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C12N 5/077(2010.01)
A61P 9/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/CN2010/078645
(87)International publication number:
WO 2011/157029 (22.12.2011 Gazette  2011/51)

(54)

METHODS AND COMPOSITIONS FOR PREPARING CARDIOMYOCYTES FROM STEM CELLS AND USES THEREOF

VERFAHREN UND ZUSAMMENSETZUNGEN ZUR HERSTELLUNG VON KARDIOMYOZYTEN AUS STAMMZELLEM UND IHRE VERWENDUNG

PROCÉDÉS ET COMPOSITIONS POUR PRÉPARER DES CARDIOMYOCYTES À PARTIR DE CELLULES SOUCHES ET LEURS UTILISATIONS


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 13.06.2010 CN 201010207603

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.04.2013 Bulletin 2013/16

(73)Proprietor: Institute of Biophysics Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chaoyang District Beijing 100101 (CN)

(72)Inventor:
  • MA, Yue
    Beijing 100101 (CN)

(74)Representative: Witte, Weller & Partner Patentanwälte mbB 
Postfach 10 54 62
70047 Stuttgart
70047 Stuttgart (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 674 562
WO-A2-2008/054819
CN-A- 101 641 436
WO-A1-2008/112323
WO-A2-2010/007031
  
  • YUASA S ET AL: "Transient inhibition of BMP signaling by Noggin induces cardiomyocyte differentiation mouse embryonic stem cells", NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, NEW YORK, NY, US, vol. 23, no. 5, 1 May 2005 (2005-05-01), pages 607-611, XP002717316, ISSN: 1087-0156, DOI: 10.1038/NBT1093
  • WOBUS A M ET AL: "RETINOIC ACID ACCELERATES EMBRYONIC STEM CELL-DERIVED CARDIAC DIFFERENTATION AND ENHANCES DEVELOPMENT OF VENTRICULAR CARDIOMYOCYTES", JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR CARDIOLOGY, ACADEMIC PRESS, GB, vol. 29, no. 6, 1 January 1997 (1997-01-01), pages 1525-1539, XP001030714, ISSN: 0022-2828, DOI: 10.1006/JMCC.1997.0433
  • PENGBO ZHANG ET AL: "Short-term BMP-4 treatment initiates mesoderm induction in human embryonic stem cells", BLOOD, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HEMATOLOGY, US, vol. 111, no. 4, 15 February 2008 (2008-02-15), pages 1933-1941, XP007913635, ISSN: 0006-4971, DOI: 10.1182/BLOOD-2007-02-074120
  • VAN WIJK ET AL: "Role of bone morphogenetic proteins in cardiac differentiation", CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, GB, vol. 74, no. 2, 5 April 2007 (2007-04-05), pages 244-255, XP022033851, ISSN: 0008-6363, DOI: 10.1016/J.CARDIORES.2006.11.022
  • HE JIA-QIANG ET AL: "Human embryonic stem cells develop into multiple types of cardiac myocytes: action potential characterization.", CIRCULATION RESEARCH 11 JUL 2003, vol. 93, no. 1, 11 July 2003 (2003-07-11), pages 32-39, XP002717317, ISSN: 1524-4571
  • QIANGZHE ZHANG ET AL: "Direct differentiation of atrial and ventricular myocytes from human embryonic stem cells by alternating retinoid signals", CELL RESEARCH, vol. 21, no. 4, 23 November 2010 (2010-11-23), pages 579-587, XP055091198, ISSN: 1001-0602, DOI: 10.1038/cr.2010.163
  • MUELLER M ET AL: "Selection of ventricular-like cardiomyocytes from ES cells in vitro", THE FASEB JOURNAL, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETIES FOR EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, US, vol. 14, no. 15, 1 December 2000 (2000-12-01), pages 2540-2548, XP002197256, ISSN: 0892-6638, DOI: 10.1096/FJ.00-0002COM
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

II. TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present invention relates to novel compositions for promoting ventricular cardiomyocytes formation from stem cells.

III. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0002] Using current technologies, embryonic atrial-, ventricular- and nodal-like cardiomyocytes can be differentiated non-specifically from hESCs6-9. Swine transplantation studies show that implanted hESC derived cardiomyocytes have pace making activities, a potential cause of ventricular arrhythmias10. The application of hESCs in myocardial repair is hampered by this cardiac subtype heterogeneity of hESC-derived cardiomyocytes1. To direct differentiation of hESCs into a desired cardiac subtype, the mechanisms of cardiac subtype specification have to be uncovered. Although several growth factors, such as activin A, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), wnt-3a, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1), have been identified to promote cardiogenesis, and are used in several hESC cardiac differentiation protocols7,8,11, there is no evidence up to date showing that these or other growth factors regulate the cardiac subtype specification during hESC differentiation. Identifying the key regulators of cardiac subtype specification is critical for reducing the heterogeneity of hESC-derived cardiomyocyte population which will be important for its later use in regenerative medicine or as drug test systems6,12.

[0003] Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is tightly controlled during mesoderm and heart development. In mouse embryos, the BMP antagonist Noggin is transiently but strongly expressed in the cardiac crescent at embryo day E7.5 to E8.013. Dkk1, a potent inducer of heart developrnent8,14 15, synergizes with BMP antagonism to specify heart tissue in non-cardiogenic mesoderm from Xenopus embryos16. It has been shown that long term treatment of hESCs with BMP4 induces trophoblast-like cell differentiation17, while short term treatment initiates mesoderm formation18. Together, these results suggest that inhibiting BMP signaling after mesoderm formation facilitates cardiac development.

[0004] Retinoic acid (RA) signaling not only restricts the cardiac progenitor pool, and exposure of the anterior lateral plate mesoderm of zebrafish embryos to the RA antagonist BMS-189453 causes uncommitted lateral mesodermal cells to become myocardial progenitors19, but also regulates anterior-posterior polarization of the heart20. Chicken transplantation studies have revealed that the cardiogenic mesoderm from HH stages 4-6, originally fated to be atria, is competent to develop into functional ventricles and vice versa21,22. RA treatment of HH stage 4 cardiogenic tissue activates the expression of the atrium-specific gene AMHC1 in anterior progenitors fated to develop into out-flow track tissues23. Furthermore, in both mouse and chicken embryos, inhibition of RA signaling within critical periods produces embryos with oversized ventricles and smaller or missing atria, and exogenous addition of RA results in reverted phenotypes5,24. Furthermore, studies with mouse embryonic stem cells indicated retinoic acid promotes the expression of atrial related genes25.

[0005] Wobus et al. (1997), Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Vol, 29, No. 6, p. 1525-1539, discloses a method for generating ventricular cardiomyocytes by involving the activity of retinoic acid. Mueller et al. (2000), The FASE B Journal, Vol. 14, No. 14, p. 2540-2548, discloses a method for generating a pure population of ventricular cardiomyocytes from ES cells in vitro.

IV. DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION



[0006] In one aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a stem cell, which method comprises inhibiting BMP signaling after the initiation of differentiation, or cardiac differentiation, of the stem cell. The present disclosure also provides a method for enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a stem cell, which method comprises contacting a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist, whereby the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is higher than the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell not contacted with the BMP antagonist. The cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided. A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous BMP antagonist is further provided.

[0007] However, the present invention relates to a method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, which method comprises inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm. Ventricular cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided, wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or a retinoic X receptor antagonist, or by depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell.

[0008] The present disclosure provides a method for promoting atrial cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, which method comprises stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm. Atrial cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided. A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous agent that stimulates retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is further provided.

[0009] The present invention also relates to a method comprising: 1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF, BMP 4, and/or activin A, to form mesoderm; 2) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist; 3) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by BMP antagonist, wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or a retinoic X receptor antagonist, or by depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell, thereby promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from the stem cell, wherein the method optionally further comprises inhibiting Wnt signaling pathway in the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm, preferably by contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with DKK1.

[0010] In yet another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for generating a ventricular cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF and BMP 4; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by bFGF and BMP 4 with activin A; 3) contacting the stem cell that has been treated by activin A with Noggin; 4) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1. Ventricular cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0011] In yet another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for generating an atrial cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with an agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, to initiate stem cell differentiation; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by the agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, with another agent, e.g., activin A, to form mesoderm; 3) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist, such as Noggin, to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell; 4) stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1 to differentiate the stem cell into an atrial cardiomyocyte. Atrial cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0012] In yet another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for generating an atrial cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF and BMP 4; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by bFGF and BMP 4 with activin A; 3) contacting the stem cell that has been treated by activin A with Noggin; 4) stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1. Atrial cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0013] The present invention also relates to a pharmaceutical composition for treating a cardiac injury or disorder, which pharmaceutical composition comprises an effective amount of the cardiomyocytes produced by the above method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, and optionally a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or excipient.

[0014] In yet another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for treating a cardiac injury or disorder in a subject, e.g., a human, which method comprises administering, to a subject to which such treatment is needed or desirable, an effective amount of the above pharmaceutical composition.

[0015] The present invention also relates to a method for identifying a modulator of a cardiomyocyte, which method comprises: 1) contacting a cardiomyocyte produced by the above method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell with a modulator candidate and measuring the effect of the modulator candidate on a property of the cardiomyocyte; 2) measuring the property of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the modulator candidate; whereby the property of the cardiomyocyte contacted with the modulator candidate is different from that of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the modulator candidate identifies the modulator candidate as a modulator of the property of the cardiomyocyte.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0016] 

Figure 1 shows that Noggin (Ngn) and RA inhibition promote hESC cardiac differentiation. (A) An outline of the protocol used for the differentiation of human ESCs to cardiac lineages. (B) Frequencies of CTNT+ cells at day 14; cardiac-induced cultures with addition of Ngn at the time intervals indicated; the basic protocol (BP) was used as a control. (C) Frequencies of CTNT+ cells in day 14 cardiac-induced cultures with addition of the RA inhibitor, RAi at the time intervals indicated; BP was used as a control. (D) Flow cytometry analysis of CTNT+ cells in cultures with BP as a control; BP cultures with Ngn added at days 4 and 5, and BP cultures with Ngn added at days 4 and 5, and RAi added from day 6 to day 8 (Ngn+RAi). (E) Quantitative RT-PCR gene expression analysis of day 14 BP, Ngn-treated, and Ngn+RAi-treated cultures, as indicated in (D) The average expression, normalized to GADPH, is shown. (F) Immunostaining analysis of cardiac-induced cultures. Where shown, bars represent the standard error of the mean of three independent experiments. CM, conditioned medium. P compared with the BP control or otherwise indicated, *P<0.05, **P<0.005, ***P<0.0005.

Figure 2 shows morphologies and beating rates of differentiated cardiomyocytes. (A) Flow cytometry analysis of CTNT+ cells from day 14 cultures, differentiated with the BP, plus treatments with Ngn at days 4 and 5, and RA (Ngn+RA) or RAi (Ngn+RAi.) treatment from days 6 to 8. (B) Statistics of the size of single cardiomyocytes from 60 day-old cultures treated with Ngn+RA (n=35) and Ngn+RAi (n=31), measured with ImageJ software. (C) Statistics of the beating rates (beat/minute) of 60 day-old differentiated cultures (n=4). (D) Immunostaining of single cells from 60 day-old differentiated cultures.

Figure 3 shows characterization of hESC-derived cardiomyocytes, induced by Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi. (A) Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of the kinetics of irx4 gene expression in Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi cultures. The average expression, normalized to GAPDH, is shown. Where shown, bars represent the standard error of the mean of three independent experiments. ***P<0.0005. (B) Immunostaining of 60 day-old Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi induced cultures, demonstrated MLC-2V expression in the majority of CTNT+ cells of Ngn+RAi treated cultures but not in those of Ngn+RA treated cultures. (C) Western blotting of 60 day-old Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi treated cultures, indicated that even though CTNT is evenly expressed in both cultures, MLC-2V is strongly expressed in Ngn+RAi-treated cultures but not in Ngn+RA treated cultures.

Figure 4 shows AP morphologies and Ca2+ release properties of cardiomyocytes induced by Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi. (A) Three major types of APs were observed in hESC-derived cardiomyoctes: nodal-like, atrial-like, and ventricular-like. The duration of the ventricular-like APs was greatly reduced by application of nifedipine (B, left); No significant effect of nifedipine on atrial-like AP duration was observed (B, right). (C) the percentages of AP types recorded from Ngn+RAi and Ngn+RA cultures are indicated. (D) Typical Ca2+ images recorded from cardiomyocytes in Ngn+RA cultures (left) and Ngn+RAi cultures (right). Fluorescence profiles (bottom) were taken from the images (at positions indicated by arrows). The properties of typical Ca2+ release events recorded from cardiomyocytes in Ngn+RA and Ngn+RAi-treated cultures are summarized in e (98 sparks from 18 cells in Ngn+RA-treated cultures, and 348 sparks from 14 cells in Ngn+RAi-treated cultures were measured). *P<0.05 compared with Ngn+RAi cultures. All cells used in electrophysiological studies were 60 to 90 days old. N-like, nodal like AP; Alike, atrial like AP; V-like, ventricular-like AP.

Figure 5 shows MLC-2v expression in different retinoid treated cultures. (A) MLC-2v and cTNT double staining for 60 day old cultures treated with Noggin+RA, Noggin alone and Noggin+RAi. (B) Western blots for MLC-2v, cTNT and β-actin with 60 day old cultures treated with Noggin+RA, Noggin alone and Noggin+RAi.

Figure 6 shows cardiac gene expression in different treated cultures. Western blots for MLC-2a, ANF, β-MHC and β-actin with 60 day old cultures treated with Noggin+RA, Noggin alone and Noggin+RAi.


VI. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION


A. DEFINITIONS



[0017] Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as is commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. If a definition set forth in this section is contrary to or otherwise inconsistent with a definition set forth in the patents, applications, published applications and other publications that are cited herein, the definition set forth in this section prevails over the definition that cited.

[0018] As used herein, "a" or "an" means "at least one" or "one or more."

[0019] As used herein, "mammal" refers to any of the mammalian class of species. Frequently, the term "mammal," as used herein, refers to humans, human subjects or human patients.

[0020] As used herein, "an effective amount of a compound for treating a particular disease" is an amount that is sufficient to ameliorate, or in some manner reduce the symptoms associated with the disease. Such amount may be administered as a single dosage or may be administered according to a regimen, whereby it is effective. The amount may cure the disease but, typically, is administered in order to ameliorate the symptoms of the disease. Repeated administration may be required to achieve the desired amelioration of symptoms.

[0021] As used herein, "treatment" means any manner in which the symptoms of a condition, disorder or disease are ameliorated or otherwise beneficially altered. Treatment also encompasses any pharmaceutical use of the compositions herein.

[0022] As used herein, "amelioration" of the symptoms of a particular disorder by administration of a particular pharmaceutical composition refers to any lessening, whether permanent or temporary, lasting or transient that can be attributed to or associated with administration of the composition.

[0023] As used herein, "production by recombinant means" refers to production methods that use recombinant nucleic acid methods that rely on well known methods of molecular biology for expressing proteins encoded by cloned nucleic acids.

[0024] As used herein, the term "subject" is not limited to a specific species or sample type. For example, the term "subject" may refer to a patient, and frequently a human patient. However, this term is not limited to humans and thus encompasses a variety of mammalian species.

[0025] As used herein, "pharmaceutically acceptable salts, esters or other derivatives" include any salts, esters or derivatives that may be readily prepared by those of skill in this art using known methods for such derivatization and that produce compounds that may be administered to animals or humans without substantial toxic effects and that either are pharmaceutically active or are prodrugs.

[0026] As used herein, a "prodrug" is a compound that, upon in vivo administration, is metabolized or otherwise converted to the biologically, pharmaceutically or therapeutically active form of the compound. To produce a prodrug, the pharmaceutically active compound is modified such that the active compound will be regenerated by metabolic processes. The prodrug may be designed to alter the metabolic stability or the transport characteristics of a drug, to mask side effects or toxicity, to improve the flavor of a drug or to alter other characteristics or properties of a drug. By virtue of knowledge of pharmacodynamic processes and drug metabolism in vivo, those of skill in this art, once a pharmaceutically active compound is known, can design prodrugs of the compound (see, e.g., Nogrady (1985) Medicinal Chemistry A Biochemical Approach, Oxford University Press, New York, pages 388-392).

[0027] As used herein, "test substance (or candidate compound)" refers to a chemically defined compound (e.g., organic molecules, inorganic molecules, organic/inorganic molecules, proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, oligonucleotides, lipids, polysaccharides, saccharides, or hybrids among these molecules such as glycoproteins, etc.) or mixtures of compounds (e.g., a library of test compounds, natural extracts or culture supernatants, etc.) whose effect on PTH antagonist is determined by the disclosed and/or claimed methods herein.

[0028] As used herein, high-throughput screening (HTS) refers to processes that test a large number of samples, such as samples of diverse chemical structures against disease targets to identify "hits" (see, e.g., Broach, et al., High throughput screening for drug discovery, Nature, 384:14-16 (1996); Janzen, et al., High throughput screening as a discovery tool in the pharmaceutical industry, Lab Robotics Automation: 8261-265 (1996); Fernandes, P.B., Letter from the society president, J. Biomol. Screening, 2:1 (1997); Burbaum, et al., New technologies for high-throughput screening, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 1:72-78 (1997)). HTS operations are highly automated and computerized to handle sample preparation, assay procedures and the subsequent processing of large volumes of data.

B. METHODS AND COMPOSITIONS FOR ENHANCING CARDIAC DIFFERENTIATION EFFICIENCY OF STEM CELLS AND CARDIOMYOCYTE PRODUCED THEREOF



[0029] In one aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a stem cell, which method comprises contacting a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist, whereby the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is higher than the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell not contacted with the BMP antagonist. The cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided. A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous BMP antagonist is further provided.

[0030] The present method can be used to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of any suitable stem cell. For example, the present method can be used to enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent or unipotent stem cell. In another example, the present method can be used to enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent or unipotent stem cell. In another example, the present method can be used to enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of an embryonic stem cell, an induced pluripotent stem cell, a fetal stem cell or an adult stem cell. In still another example, the present method can be used to enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a mammalian stem cell such as a human stem cell. In still another example, the present method can be used to enhancing cardiac differentiation efficiency of a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell.

[0031] The stem cells can be obtained, prepared and/or maintained by any suitable methods under exclusion of methods involving the destruction of human embryos. For example, mouse ES cells can grow on a layer of gelatin and require the presence of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF). Human ES cells can grow on a feeder layer of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and may require the presence of basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (bFGF or FGF-2) (See e.g., Chambers I, Colby D, Robertson M, et al. (2003). "Functional expression cloning of Nanog, a pluripotency sustaining factor in embryonic stem cells". Cell 113 (5): 643-55).

[0032] A stem cell, e.g., a human embryonic stem cell, is often defined by the presence of several transcription factors and cell surface proteins. For example, the transcription factors Oct-4, Nanog, and Sox2 form the core regulatory network that ensures the suppression of genes that lead to differentiation and the maintenance of pluripotency. The cell surface antigens commonly used to identify hES cells are the glycolipids SSEA3 and SSEA4 and the keratan sulfate antigens Tra-1-60 and Tra-1-81.

[0033] Induced pluripotent stem cells, commonly abbreviated as iPS cells or iPSCs, are a type of pluripotent stem cell artificially derived from a non-pluripotent cell, typically an adult somatic cell, by inducing a "forced" expression of specific genes. Various genes, or a combination thereof, can be used to induce iPS cells from adult somatic cells. For example, Oct-3/4 and certain members of the Sox gene family (Sox1, Sox2, Sox3, and Sox15) can be used to induce iPS cells from adult somatic cells. Additional genes, including certain members of the Klf family (Klf1, Klf2, Klf4, and Klf5), the Myc family (C-myc, L-myc, and N-myc), Nanog, and LIN28, can be used to increase the induction efficiency. The various genes or its encoded proteins can be delivered into the adult somatic cells by any suitable methods. For example, various genes can be delivered into the adult somatic cell by a viral transfection system, such as a retroviral system, a lentiviral system, or an adenoviral system, or a plasmid without any virus transfection system. Alternatively, proteins encoded by the genes can be delivered into the adult somatic cells directly, e.g., by a repeated treatment of the cells with certain proteins channeled into the cells via poly-arginine anchors.

[0034] The stem cell can be induced to differentiae to form mesoderm by any suitable treatment or agent. In one example, the stem cell has differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and/or activin A. In another example, the stem cell has differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and activin A. The stem cell can be treated with bFGF, BMP 4 and activin A in any suitable order. For example, the stem cell can be differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and BMP 4 before the stem cell is contacted with activin A. In another example, the stem cell can be differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with wnt-3a (Tran, T. H. et al. Wnt3a-induced mesoderm formation and cardiomyogenesis in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells 27, 1869-1878 (2009)), or a small molecule which acts or functions like wnt-3a, such as Bio or CHIR99021.

[0035] Any suitable BMP antagonist can be used in the present methods to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of a stem cell. For example, a BMP 4 antagonist can be used. In another example, the BMP antagonist is Noggin. In still another example, the BMP antagonist is Chordin, Tsg, a member of DAN family (Yanagita, M. BMP antagonists: their roles in development and involvement in pathophysiology. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev 16, 309-317, (2005)), BMP soluble receptors, such as BMPR1A and BMPR1B, or a small molecule which acts or functions like BMP antagonist, such as Dorsomorphin (Hao, J. et al. Dorsomorphin, a selective small molecule inhibitor of BMP signaling, promotes cardiomyogenesis in embryonic stem cells. PLoS One 3, e2904 (2008)).

[0036] The present methods can further comprise inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell. The retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic X receptor antagonist, a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, or by reducing or depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell.

[0037] The present methods can be used to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of a stem cell to a suitable degree. In one example, the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is at least about 30% higher than the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell not contacted with the BMP antagonist. In specific embodiments, the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is at least about 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, 2-fold, 3-fold, 4-fold, 5-fold, 6-fold, 7-fold, 8-fold, 9-fold, 10-fold, or higher than the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell not contacted with the BMP antagonist.

[0038] In one specific example, the stem cell is a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell, the BMP antagonist is Noggin and the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is about 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70% or 80%. In another specific example, the stem cell is a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell, the BMP antagonist is Noggin and the cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell contacted with the BMP antagonist is about 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95% or 100%.

[0039] The present methods can further comprise contacting the stem cell with a wnt inhibitor to differentiate the stem cell into a cardiomyocyte. Any suitable wnt inhibitor can be used. In one example, the wnt inhibitor is dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1).

[0040] A cardiomyocyte produced by the above methods is also provided.

[0041] A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous BMP antagonist is further provided.

C. METHODS AND COMPOSITIONS FOR PROMOTING VENTRICULAR CARDIOMYOCYTE FORMATION AND VENTRICULAR CARDIOMYOCYTE PRODUCED THEREOF



[0042] In another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, which method comprises inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm.

[0043] The present methods can be used to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from any suitable stem cell. In one example, the present methods can be used to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent or unipotent stem cell. In another example, the present methods can be used to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from an embryonic stem cell, an induced pluripotent stem cell, a fetal stem cell or an adult stem cell. In still another example, the present methods can be used to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a mammalian stem cell such as a human stem cell. In yet another example, the present methods can be used to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell.

[0044] The stem cell can be induced to differentiae to form mesoderm by any suitable treatment or agent. In one example, the stem cell is induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and/or activin A. In another example, the stem cell is induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and activin A. The stem cell can be treated with bFGF, BMP 4 and activin A in any suitable order. For example, the stem cell can be induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and BMP 4 before the stem cell is contacted with activin A. In another example, the stem cell can be differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with wnt-3a (Tran, T. H. et al. Wnt3a-induced mesoderm formation and cardiomyogenesis in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells 27, 1869-1878 (2009)), or a small molecule which acts or functions like wnt-3a, such as Bio or CHIR99021.

[0045] The present methods can further comprise contacting the stem cell with a BMP antagonist to enhance the cardiac differentiation efficiency. Any suitable BMP antagonist can be used in the present methods. For example, a BMP 4 antagonist can be used. In another example, the BMP antagonist is Noggin. In still another example, the BMP antagonist is Chordin, Tsg, a member of DAN family (Yanagita, M. BMP antagonists: their roles in development and involvement in pathophysiology. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev 16, 309-317 (2006)), BMP soluble receptors, such as BMPR1A and BMPR1B, or a small molecule which acts or functions like BMP antagonist, such as Dorsomorphin (Hao, J. et al. Dorsomorphin, a selective small molecule inhibitor of BMP signaling, promotes cardiomyogenesis in embryonic stem cells. PLoS One 3, e2904 (2008)).

[0046] The retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic X receptor antagonist, a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or by reducing or depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell.

[0047] In one specific example, the stem cell is a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell, the BMP antagonist is Noggin and the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with BMS-189453.

[0048] The present methods can further comprise contacting the stem cell with a wnt inhibitor to differentiate the stem cell into a ventricular cardiomyocyte. Any suitable wnt inhibitor can be used. In one example, the wnt inhibitor is dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1).

[0049] The present disclosure provides a method for generating a ventricular cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with an agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, to initiate stem cell differentiation; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by the agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, with another agent, e.g., activin A, to form mesoderm; 3) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist such as Noggin, to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell; 4) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by BMP antagonist, e.g., Noggin, to promote ventricular cardiomyocyte formation; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by BMP antagonist, e.g., Noggin, with a wnt inhibitor such as DKK1 to differentiate the stem cell into a ventricular cardiomyocyte. Ventricular cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0050] The present disclosure provides a method for generating a ventricular cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF and BMP 4; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by bFGF and BMP 4 with activin A; 3) contacting the stem cell that has been treated by activin A with Noggin; 4) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1. Ventricular cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0051] A ventricular cardiomyocyte produced by the above methods is also provided. The ventricular cardiomyocyte can have elevated expression level of a ventricular specific gene, e.g., IRX-4 or MLC-2v, embryonic ventricular-like action potentials (AP) and/or Ca2+ spark pattern typical of a ventricular cardiomyocyte.

[0052] A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous agent that inhibits retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is further provided. The exogenous agent that inhibits retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell includes a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, e.g., BMS-189453. In another example, the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with BMS-453, AGN194310, AGN193109, Ro41-5253, SRI 1335, 9-cis-retinoic acid, or disulfiram and citral.

D. METHODS AND COMPOSITIONS FOR PROMOTING ATRIAL CARDIOMYOCYTE FORMATION AND ATRIAL CARDIOMYOCYTE PRODUCED THEREOF



[0053] In still another aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for promoting atrial cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, which method comprises stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm.

[0054] The present methods can be used to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation from any suitable stem cell. In one example, the present methods can be used to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation from a pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent or unipotent stem cell. In another example, the present methods can be used to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation from an embryonic stem cell, an induced pluripotent stem cell, a fetal stem cell or an adult stem cell. In still another example, the present methods can be used to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation from a mammalian stem cell such as a human stem cell. In yet another example, the present methods can be used to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation from a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell.

[0055] The stem cell can be induced to differentiae to form mesoderm by any suitable treatment or agent. In one example, the stem cell is induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and/or activin A. In another example, the stem cell is induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and activin A. The stem cell can be treated with bFGF, BMP 4 and activin A in any suitable order. For example, the stem cell is induced to differentiate to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and BMP 4 before the stem cell is contacted with activin A. In another example, the stem cell can be differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with wnt-3a (Tran, T. H. et al. Wnt3a-induced mesoderm formation and cardiomyogenesis in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells 27, 1869-1878 (2009)), or a small molecule which acts or functions like wnt-3a, such as Bio or CHIR99021.

[0056] The present methods can further comprise contacting the stem cell with a BMP antagonist to enhance the cardiac differentiation efficiency. Any suitable BMP antagonist can be used in the present methods. For example, a BMP 4 antagonist can be used. In another example, the BMP antagonist is Noggin. In still another example, the BMP antagonist is Chordin, Tsg, a member of DAN family (Yanagita, M. BMP antagonists: their roles in development and involvement in pathophysiology. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev 16, 309-317, (2005)), BMP soluble receptors, such as BMPR1A and BMPR1B, or a small molecule which acts or functions like BMP antagonist, such as Dorsomorphin (Hao, J. et al. Dorsomorphin, a selective small molecule inhibitor of BMP signaling, promotes cardiomyogenesis in embryonic stem cells. PLoS One 3, e2904 (2008)).

[0057] The retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell can be stimulated by any suitable treatment or agent. In one example, the retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is stimulated by contacting the stem cell with retinoic acid or vitamin A. In another example, the retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is stimulated by contacting the stem cell with a retinoic acid receptor agonist, such as LG100268 and LGD1069.

[0058] In one specific example, the stem cell is a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell, the BMP antagonist is Noggin and the retinoic acid signaling pathway is stimulated by contacting the stem cell with retinoic acid or vitamin A.

[0059] The present methods can further comprise contacting the stem cell with a wnt inhibitor to differentiate the stem cell into an atrial cardiomyocyte. Any suitable wnt inhibitor can be used. In one example, the wnt inhibitor is dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1).

[0060] The present disclosure provides a method for generating an atrial cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with an agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, to initiate stem cell differentiation; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by the agent, e.g., bFGF and BMP 4, with another agent, e.g., activin A, to form mesoderm; 3) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist such as Noggin, to enhance cardiac differentiation efficiency of the stem cell; 4) stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin to promote atrial cardiomyocyte formation; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1 to differentiate the stem cell into an atrial cardiomyocyte. Atrial cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0061] The present disclosure provides a method for generating an atrial cardiomyocyte from a stem cell, which method comprises: 1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF and BMP 4; 2) contacting the stem cell treated by bFGF and BMP 4 with activin A; 3) contacting the stem cell that has been treated by activin A with Noggin; 4) stimulating or not inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell treated by Noggin; and 5) contacting the stem cell treated by Noggin with DKK1. Atrial cardiomyocytes produced by the above method are also provided.

[0062] An atrial cardiomyocyte produced by the above methods is also provided. In one example, an atrial cardiomyocyte can have embryonic atrial-like action potentials (AP) and/or Ca2+ spark pattern typical of an atrial cardiomyocyte.

[0063] A composition comprising a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and treated with an exogenous agent that stimulates retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is further provided. Any suitable exogenous agent can be used to stimulate retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell. In one example, the exogenous agent that stimulates retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell is retinoic acid or vitamin A.

E. PHARMACEUTICAL COMPOSITIONS AND USES OF THE CARDIOMYOCYTES



[0064] The cardiomyocytes can be used for any suitable purposes. In one aspect, the present disclosure provides a pharmaceutical composition for treating a cardiac injury or disorder, which pharmaceutical composition comprises an effective amount of the cardiomyocytes produced by the above methods, and optionally a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or expicient. The pharmaceutical composition may comprise a mixture of atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes. The pharmaceutical composition may comprise at least about 50%, preferably, at least about 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%, 99%, or 100% atrial cardiomyocytes. The pharmaceutical composition may comprise at least about 50%, preferably, at least about 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%, 99%, or 100% ventricular cardiomyocytes.

[0065] The present disclosure provides a method for treating a cardiac injury or disorder in a subject, e.g., a human, which method comprises administering, to a subject to which such treatment is needed or desirable, an effective amount of the above pharmaceutical composition.

[0066] The formulation, dosage and route of administration of the cardiomyocytes, whether predominantly atrial cardiomyocytes, predominantly ventricular cardiomyocytes or a mixture of atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes, preferably in the form of pharmaceutical compositions, can be determined according to the methods known in the art (see e.g., Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, Alfonso R. Gennaro (Editor) Mack Publishing Company, April 1997; Therapeutic Peptides and Proteins: Formulation, Processing, and Delivery Systems, Banga, 1999; and Pharmaceutical Formulation Development of Peptides and Proteins, Hovgaard and Frkjr (Ed.), Taylor & Francis, Inc., 2000; Medical Applications of Liposomes, Lasic and Papahadjopoulos (Ed.), Elsevier Science, 1998; Textbook of Gene Therapy, Jain, Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 1998; Adenoviruses: Basic Biology to Gene Therapy, Vol. 15, Seth, Landes Bioscience, 1999; Biopharmaceutical Drug Design and Development, Wu-Pong and Rojanasakul (Ed.), Humana Press, 1999; Therapeutic Angiogenesis: From Basic Science to the Clinic, Vol. 28, Dole et al. (Ed.), Springer-Verlag New York, 1999). In specific embodiments, the cardiomyocytes can be combined or formulated with endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and/or fibroblast cells, and implanted into a heart. The cell or tissue patch can be transplanted by direct injection to the infarct area, injection with a catheter or implanted as a cardio-patch by a surgery. Preferably, the cardiomyocytes are formed from stem cells of the subject that is to be treated. Also preferably, the endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and/or fibroblast cells are also obtained or derived from the subject that is to be treated, e.g., formed from stem cells of the subject that is to be treated.

[0067] The cardiomyocytes can be formulated for any suitable route of administration. In one example, the cardiomyocytes are administered by surgery or cell transplantation. The most suitable route in any given case will depend on the nature and severity of the condition being treated and on the nature of the particular cardiomyocytes which are being used.

[0068] The cardiomyocytes can be administered alone. Alternatively and preferably, the cardiomyocytes are co-administered with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or excipient. Any suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or excipient can be used in the present method (See e.g., Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, Alfonso R. Gennaro (Editor) Mack Publishing Company, April 1997).

[0069] The present method can be used alone. Alternatively, the present method can be used in combination with other agent suitable for preventing; treating or delaying a cardiac injury, disease or disorder. Such other agent can be used before, with or after the administration of the cardiomyocytes. For example, the cardiomyocytes can be co-administered with such other agent.

[0070] The cardiomyocytes, alone or in combination with other agents, carriers or excipients, may be formulated for any suitable administration route, such as surgery or cell transplantation. The method may employ formulations for administration in unit dosage form, in ampoules or in multidose containers, with an added preservative. The formulations may take such forms as suspensions, solutions or emulsions in oily or aqueous vehicles, and may contain formulatory agents such as suspending, stabilizing and/or dispersing agents. Alternatively, the active ingredient may be in powder form for constitution with a suitable vehicle, sterile pyrogen-free water or other solvents, before use.

[0071] Pharmaceutically acceptable compositions and methods for their administration that may be employed for use include, but are not limited to those described in U.S. Patent Nos. 5,736,154; 6,197,801 B1; 5,741,511; 5,886,039; 5;941,868; 6,258,374 B1; and 5,686,102.

[0072] The magnitude of a therapeutic dose in the treatment or prevention will vary with the severity of the condition to be treated and the route of administration. The dose, and perhaps dose frequency, will also vary according to age, body weight, condition and response of the individual patient.

[0073] It should be noted that the attending physician would know how to and when to terminate, interrupt or adjust therapy to lower dosage due to toxicity, or adverse effects. Conversely, the physician would also know how to and when to adjust treatment to higher levels if the clinical response is not adequate (precluding toxic side effects).

[0074] Any suitable route of administration may be used. Dosage forms include tablets, troches, cachet, dispersions, suspensions, solutions, capsules, patches, and the like. See, Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences.

[0075] In practical use, the cardiomyocytes, alone or in combination with other agents, may be combined as the active in intimate admixture with a pharmaceutical carrier or excipient, such as beta-cyclodextrin and 2-hydroxy-propyl-beta-cyclodextrin, according to conventional pharmaceutical compounding techniques. The carrier may take a wide form of preparation desired for suitable administration. In preparing compositions for parenteral dosage form, such as intravenous injection or infusion, similar pharmaceutical media may be employed, water, glycols, oils, buffers, sugar, preservatives, liposomes, and the like known to those of skill in the art. Examples of such parenteral compositions include, but are not limited to dextrose 5% w/v, normal saline or other solutions. The total dose of the cardiomyocytes, alone or in combination with other agents to be administered may be administered in a vial of fluid, ranging from about 1x103 to 1x1010 cells, e.g., 1x103, 1x104, 1x105, 1x106, 1x107, 1x108, 1x109, or 1x1010 cells, or any subrange within the range of 1x103 to 1x1010 cells.

[0076] The disclosure also provides for kits for carrying out the therapeutic regimens of the invention. Such kits comprise in one or more containers therapeutically effective amounts of the cardiomyocytes, alone or in combination with other agents, in pharmaceutically acceptable form. Preferred pharmaceutical forms would be in combination with sterile saline, dextrose solution, or buffered solution, or other pharmaceutically acceptable sterile fluid. Alternatively, the composition may be lyophilized or dessicated; in this instance, the kit optionally further comprises in a container a pharmaceutically acceptable solution, preferably sterile, to reconstitute the complex to form a solution for injection purposes. Exemplary pharmaceutically acceptable solutions are saline and dextrose solution.

[0077] In another embodiment, a kit of the invention further comprises a needle or syringe, preferably packaged in sterile form, for injecting the composition, and/or a packaged alcohol pad. Instructions are optionally included for administration of composition by a physician or by the patient.

F. OTHER USES OF THE CARDIOMYOCYTES



[0078] The cardiomyocytes can be used for any suitable purposes. In one embodiment, the present disclosure provides a method for identifying a modulator of a cardiomyocyte, which method comprises: 1) contacting a cardiomyocyte produced by the above methods with a test substance and measuring the effect of the test substance on a property of the cardiomyocyte; 2) measuring the property of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the test substance; whereby the property of the cardiomyocyte contacted with the test substance is different from that of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the test substance identifies the test substance as a modulator, e.g., a stimulator or inhibitor, of the property of the cardiomyocyte. In one example, an increase of the property of the cardiomyocyte contacted with the test substance relative to that of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the test substance identifies the test substance as a stimulator of the property of the cardiomyocyte. In another example, a decrease of the property of the cardiomyocyte contacted with the test substance relative to that of the cardiomyocyte not contacted with the test substance identifies the test substance as an inhibitor of the property of the cardiomyocyte.

[0079] The method can be conducted in any suitable format. Preferably, the method is conducted in a high-throughput screening (HTS) format.

G. REFERENCE EXAMPLES


Abstract



[0080] Although cell transplantation studies have suggested promising therapeutic potentials for myocardial infarction, the incapability to obtain relatively homogeneous ventricular myocytes for transplantation is one major obstacle to the development of clinical therapies for myocardial repair1. Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) is a promising source of cardiomyocytes. Here we report that retinoid signaling regulates the fate specification of atrial versus ventricular myocytes during cardiac differentiation of hESCs. We found that both Noggin and pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist BMS-189453 (RAi) significantly increase the cardiac differentiation efficiency of hESCs2. Investigating retinoid function by comparing Noggin+RAi-treated cultures with Noggin+RA-treated cultures, our results show that the expression level of the ventricular-specific gene IRX-4 was radically elevated in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures3, and MLC-2v, another ventricular-specific marker4,5, was expressed in the majority of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures, but not in those of Noggin+RA-treated cultures. Flow cytometry analysis and electrophysiological studies indicated that with 64±0.88% (mean ±s.e.m) cardiac differentiation efficiency, 83% of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures had embryonic ventricular-like action potentials (AP); while, with 50±1.76% cardiac differentiation efficiency, 94% of those in Noggin+RA-treated cultures had embryonic atrial-like APs. These results were further confirmed by imaging studies on the patterns and properties of the Ca2+ sparks of the cardiomyocytes in those two differently treated cultures. These findings demonstrating that retinoid signaling specifies atrial versus ventricular differentiation of hESCs , and relatively homogeneous embryonic atrial and ventricular like myocyte populations can be efficiently derived from hESCs by specifically regulating Noggin and retinoid signals.

Summary



[0081] Although cell transplantation studies have suggested promising therapeutic potentials for myocardial infarction, the incapability to obtain relatively homogeneous ventricular myocytes for transplantation is one major obstacle to the development of clinical therapies for myocardial repair1. Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) is a promising source of cardiomyocytes. Here we report that retinoid signaling regulates the fate specification of atrial versus ventricular myocytes during cardiac differentiation of hESCs. We found that both Noggin and pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist BMS-189453 (RAi) significantly increase the cardiac differentiation efficiency of hESCs2. Investigating retinoid function by comparing Noggin+RAi-treated cultures with Noggin+RA-treated cultures, our results show that the expression level of the ventricular-specific gene IRX-4 was radically elevated in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures3, and MLC-2v, another ventricular-specific marker4,5, was expressed in the majority of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures, but not in those of Noggin+RA-treated cultures. Flow cytometry analysis and electrophysiological studies indicated that with 64±0.88% (mean ±s.e.m) cardiac differentiation efficiency, 83% of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures had embryonic ventricular-like action potentials (AP); while, with 50±1.76% cardiac differentiation efficiency, 94% of those in Noggin+RA-treated cultures had embryonic atrial-like APs. These results were further confirmed by imaging studies on the patterns and properties of the Ca2+ sparks of the cardiomyocyes in those two differently treated cultures. These findings demonstrating that retinoid signaling specifies atrial versus ventricular differentiation of hESCs , and relatively homogeneous embryonic atrial and ventricular like myocyte populations can be efficiently derived from hESCs by specifically influencing BMP and retinoid signaling cascades.

Material and Methods



[0082] Maintenance and differentiation of hESCs. Undifferentiated hESC line H7 from the WiCell Research Institute was maintained on matrigel-coated plates, as previously described37. In the basic cardiac induction protocol (BP), undifferentiated hESCs were seeded on gelatin-coated plates at a density of 1-5x105cells/cm2 and cultured with mouse embryonic fibroblast conditioned medium for 3 days until fully confluent. To initiate cell differentiation, the medium was changed to RPMI1640, supplemented with B27 (Invitrogen). Cells were treated with 25 ng/ml BMP4 and 6 ng/ml bFGF at day 1, 100 ng/ml activin A at day 2, and 200 ng/ml DKK1 (R&D Systems) from day 6 to day 11. The medium was changed every 3 days after day 11 (Figure 1). 250 ng/ml Noggin, 1 µM RA (Sigma) or 1 µM RAi were added to the cell culture at the times specified in Figures 1A-C. Spontaneous beating clusters were typically observed at days 10 to 11. Cardiac differentiation efficiency was analyzed on day 14 with CTNT antibody staining and flow cytometry.

[0083] Single cell preparation of hES-derived cardiomyocytes. Six (60) to 90 day-old differentiated cultures were washed in a low Ca2+ solution, and then incubated in an enzyme solution for 20 min at 37°C. The dissociation was completed in KB solution by gently shaking for 40 min at room temperature. The isolated cells were resuspended in DMEM plus 10% FBS, and transferred on 0.1% gelatin-coated glass coverslips, and then kept in an incubator at 37°C., 5% CO2. The composition of the low Ca2+ solution was (in mM):120 NaCl, 5.4 KCl, 5 MgSO4, 5 Na pyruvate, 20 glucose, 20 taurine, 10 HEPES. The pH was adjusted to 7.3 with NaOH. KB solution contained (in mM): 85 KCl, 30 K2HPO4, 5 MgSO4, 1 EGTA, 2 Na2ATP, 5 Na pyruvate, 20 glucose, 20 taurine, 5 creatine, adjusted to pH 7.3 with KOH.

[0084] Electrophysiological measurements and confocal Ca2+ imaging. Action potentials of cardiomyocytes were recorded in a whole-cell patch clamp configuration, using an Axon 200B amplifier (Axon Instruments) at room temperature. Data were digitized at 20kHz and filtered at 2kHz, and were analyzed by PClamp 9.0. Patch pipettes (2-4MΩ resistance) were filled with an intracellular solution containing (in mM) 50 KCl, 60 K-Aspartate, 1 MgCl2, 3 Na2ATP, 10 EGTA,10mM HEPES, adjusted to pH 7.3 with KOH. Normal Tyrode's solution was used as an extracellular solution and contained (in mM) 140 NaCl, 5 KCl, 1 CaCl2, 1 MgCl2, 10 glucose, 10 HEPES, adjusted to pH 7.4 with NaOH.

[0085] For Ca2+ confocal imaging, myocytes were incubated with Fluo-4AM (10 µM/L; Molecular Probes) for 10 min at room temperature and then perfused with extracellular buffer for about 30 min. Ca2+ imaging studies were performed on a Leica SP5 confocal microscope equipped with an argon laser (488 nm) at a magnification of 40x using a 1.25NA oil immersion objective. Spontaneous Ca2+ sparks and Ca2+ transients were recorded using linescans, obtained at 0.5 ms per line. Images were processed and analyzed using both MATLAB 7.1 software (MathWorks) and ImageJ (Scioncorp). Detection criteria of 3.8 × SD for Ca2+ sparks were set, and automated counting of Ca2+ sparks was performed using the Sparkmaster plug-in for ImageJ38.

[0086] Flow cytometry. Differentiated cell clusters were dissociated into single cells with 0.25% trypsin-EDTA, which were then fixed and stained with anti-human CTNT antibody (R&D Systems) and goat anti-mouse FITC-conjugated secondary antibody (Santa Cruz) in PBS plus 0.5% BSA and 0.1% saponin (Sigma) at 4°C. Stained cells were kept in 4% paraformaldehyde for subsequent quantitative analysis. Data were collected using FACScalibur (Becton Dickinson) and analyzed with FlowJo software (Treestar).

[0087] Real-time RT-PCR. Total RNA was isolated using Qiagen's RNeasy Plus Mini kit from a single well of a 24-well plate of differentiated hES cells. Then 1 µg of total RNA was reverse transcribed with SuperScript III First-Strand Synthesis System (Invitrogen). RT-PCR was carried out using rTaq DNA Polymerase (Takara). Real-time PCR was performed in triplicate using 2x QuantiFast SYBR Green I PCR Master Mix (Qiagen) on a Rotor Gene 6200 Real-Time PCR Machine (Corbett), with an annealing temperature of 60°C. The expression of each gene was normalized to GAPDH gene expression. Primer sequences are listed in Table 2.

[0088] Immunofluorescence. Sixty (60) day-old differentiated cultures were digested with 0.25% trypsin- EDTA, and the cells were plated on gelatin-coated coverslips for 5 days, allowing full attachment to occur. Cells were then fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde, and incubated with primary antibodies of mouse anti-human CTNT (R&D systems), mouse anti-human α-Actinin (Sigma), mouse anti-human β-MHC (ATCC), mouse anti-human MLC-2a (Synaptic Systems), or rabbit anti-human MLC-2v (ProteinTech Group). Goat anti-mouse secondary antibody conjugated with DyLight 488 (Santa Cruz Biotechnology) and goat anti-rabbit secondary antibody conjugated with Trite (Santa Cruz Biotechnology) were used as needed. After the nuclei were counterstained with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI, Sigma), immunofluorescence images were visualized and recorded using an Olympus microscope system X51 or Olympus LSCM FV1000.

[0089] Western blotting. One well of a 24-well plate of 60 day-old differentiated cells was lysed with RIPA lysis buffer (Biomiga) for Western blotting. Blots were incubated with mouse anti-human CTNT, mouse anti-human β-MHC, rabbit anti-human MLC-2v, goat anti-ANF, mouse anti-human MLC-2a, mouse anti-human β-actin, rabbit anti-phospho smad1/5/8 and rabbit anti-samd1/5/8 separately, and then with HRP-conjugated goat anti-mouse or anti-rabbit antibody.
Table 1 AP parameters recorded from hESC derived cardiomyoctes.
 n(cell)Vmax(V/s)APA(mV)APD90(ms)MDP(mV)
Nodal-like 6 7.3 ± 4.2 74.5 ± 8.9# 147.6 ± 26.8$ -51.3 ± 8.2†
Atrial-like 36 12.8 ± 3.1* 81.6 ± 11.5# 168.8 ± 26.8$ -55.5 ± 6.5†
Ventricular-like 42 11.4 ± 2.8* 86.8 ± 12.4# 285.8 ± 52.6$ -62.3 ± 8.6†


[0090] Table 1 AP parameters recorded from hESC-derived cardiomyoctes. Data are means ± se. n indicates the number of cells tested. Vmax, maximum rate of AP increase; APA. AP amplitude; APD90, AP duration measured at 90% repolarization; MDP, maximum diastolic potential. *P<0.05 compared with nodal-like; #P<0.05 compared with each other; $P<0.01 compared with each other; and †P<0.05 compared with each other.
Table 2 Primer sequences used for qPCR.
GeneForward PrimerReverse PrimerTm
NXK2.5 Acctcaacagctccctgactct ataatcgccgccacaaactctcc 60°C
CTNT Ttcaccaaagatctgctcctcgct ttattactggtgtggagtgggtgtgg 60°C
IRX4 Ttccgttctgaagcgtggtc tgaagcaggcaattattggtgt 60°C
GAPDH Gaaatcccatcaccatcttccagg gagccccagccttctccatg 60°C

Results



[0091] Based on the previous studies, we hypothesized that inhibition of BMP pathway after initiation of hESC differentiation and blocking retinoic acid signaling promotes cardiogenesis; Retinoid signaling also regulates atrial versus ventricular differentiation of hESCs. To test these hypotheses, we admitted Noggin, RA and its inhibitor RAi to the cardiac differentiation cultures at different time intervals, and investigated their effects on cardiogenesis and cardiac subtype specification of hESC derivatives. Our results show that inhibition both BMP and RA signals with Noggin and RAi significantly promote cardiogenesis, and retinoid signaling controls the atrial versus ventricular specification of differentiated hESCs. In addition to providing important insights into the mechanisms that specify cardiac subtypes, our findings also demonstrated the direct differentiation of relatively homogeneous embryonic atrial and ventricular-like myocytes from hESCs.

[0092] Noggin and RA antagonist BMS189453 promote cardiogenesis of differentiated hESCs. In order to investigate its functions in cardiac differentiation, Noggin was systematically added to cardiomyocyte-differentiating hESC cultures generated by a protocol developed in our laboratory (see Methods for detailed description) for different time intervals from days 2 to 5. Results show that cardiac differentiation was slightly repressed when Noggin was present between days 2 and 3, but significantly promoted between days 2.5 and 4.5. Highest cardiac differentiation efficiencies were achieved between days 4 and 5 (Figure. 1B). Western blot for phosphorylated Smad1,5,8 indicated that Noggin reduced the activities of BMP signaling (data not shown). Therefore, inhibition of BMP signaling promotes cardiogenesis in hESCs after the initiation of differentiation.

[0093] Previous findings that RA signal restricts embryonic cardiac progenitor raise the possibility that inhibition of RA signaling during cardiac differentiation of hESCs could promote cardiogenesis. Vitamin A, the substrate for RA synthesis, and RALDH2, the enzyme responsible for RA synthesis24, were both present in our cultures (data not shown), suggesting the potential of RA signaling activation. We therefore tested the effects of RA inhibition on promoting hESC cardiac differentiation by adding RAi to our cardiomyocyte-differentiating cultures between days 4 and 9 at the time points indicated in Figure. 1C. Flow cytometry showed that cardiac differentiation was markedly increased when RAi was added between days 6 to 9 (Figure. 1C), demonstrating that inhibition of RA signaling promotes cardiac differentiation of hESCs.

[0094] Next we combined Noggin-treatment on days 4 and 5, and RAi-treatment from days 6 to 8. Flow cytometry of CTNT+ cells from day 14 cultures showed that, with Noggin alone, the differentiation efficiency was 50%±3.06% (mean ±s.e.m), and that this efficiency increased to 73%±2.08% when cells were treated with both RAi and Noggin (Figure 1D). This was confirmed by results from quantitative RT-PCR analysis of day 14 cultures. The expression levels of both CTNT and NKX2.5 were significantly higher in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures than in cultures treated with Noggin alone (Figure IE). Immunostaining indicated the expression of typical cardiac markers including CTNT, α-Actinin, MLC-2a, MLC-2v, and β-MHC (Fig. 1F) in cultured cells.

[0095] Alternative retinoid signals direct the differentiation hESCs into two distinct subtype of cardiomyocytes. Because the studies of chicken and mouse embryos indicated that retinoid signaling regulates the fate specification of in-flow and out-flow track tissues5,20-24, we proposed that the activation or inactivation of retinoid signaling directs atrial vs. ventricular fate specification of differentiated hESC cardiac progenitors, and that such a mechanism could be used to efficiently generate either hESC-derived atrial- or ventricular-like myocytes.

[0096] To test this hypothesis, either RA or its antagonist, RAi, was added to the Noggin-treated cultures between days 6 to 8 in parallel experiments (Figure 1A). After 14 days' differentiation, the percentages of CTNT+ cells in Noggin+RA and Noggin+RAi-treated cultures was 50.7%±1.76% and 64.7%±0.88% respectively (Figure 2A). Despite there is only about 14% difference in the differentiation efficiencies, the size of beating cardiomyocytes in the Noggin+RA-treated cultures was smaller than that of those in the Noggin+RAi-treated cultures (Figure 2B, D). The beating rate of cardiomyocytes in the Noggin+RA-treated cultures was also faster than that of those in the Noggin+RAi-treated cultures (Figure 2C and Table 1), suggesting that there were two different subtypes of cardiomyocytes present in these two different cultures. Next, we examined the expression of ventricular-specific genes, IRX4 and MLC-2v, in the two cultures. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures, IRX4 expression started to climb on day 8, and by day 14 it was 10 fold higher than that in the Noggin+RA-treated cultures (Figure 3A). Immunostaining of 60-day-old cultures showed that MLC-2v was expressed in the majority of CTNT+ cells in Noggin+RAi-treated, but not in Noggin+RA-treated cultures (Figure 3B), consistent with results from Western blotting indicating that although CTNT was expressed at similar levels in these two cultures, MLC-2v was strongly and only expressed in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures (Figure 3C). We also compared the expression of cTNT and MLC-2v in Noggin+RAi-treated, Noggin-treated and Noggin+RA-treated cultures with immunostaining and western blots. The results show that Noggin alone treated cultures only about 35% cTNT positive cells are also MLC-2v positive, and with weak MLC-2v expression detected by western blots (Figure 5). These results indicate that the majority of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures are embryonic ventricular-like myocytes, whereas the cardiomyocytes differentiated in Noggin+RA-treated cultures are either embryonic nodal- or atrial-like myocytes which do not express MLC-2v. We also examined the expressions of β-MHC, MLC-2a, and Atrial Nutriation Factor (ANF) in RA and RAi treated cultures with western blots, and results showed that β-MHC is evenly expressed in the two cultures, but MLC-2a and ANF are expressed with higher level in RA treated cultures than those in RAi treated cultures (Figure 6).

[0097] Electrophysiolgical characterization identifies embryonic atrial- and ventricular-like cardiomyocyte populations induced by alternative retinoid signals. Due to a lack of endogenous early atrium-specific genetic markers in mammalian systems5, we chose to use electrophysiological characters to rigorously identify these two cardiac sub-populations. Based on the morphology and classification of AP properties (Table 1)6,26, three major types of AP (nodal-like, atrial-like, and ventricular-like) were observed in our study (Figure 4A). However, the ratios of the three major types of APs were different between Noggin+RA- and Noggin+RAi-treated cultures; 83% of myocytes (n=23) from the cultures treated with Noggin+RAi possessed ventricular-like APs (Figure 4A, C), in which the duration of APs could be shortened by application of nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker (Figure 4B, left), while 94% of myocytes (n=19) from Noggin+RA-treated cultures exhibited an atrial-like AP, and the duration of the AP could not be shortened by nifedipine (Figures 4A, B right and C). These results demonstrate that the majority of the cardiomyocytes in Noggin+RA-treated culture were embryonic atrial-like myocytes and the majority of those in Noggin+RAi-treated cultures were embryonic ventricular-like myocytes. Interestingly, in both the Noggin+RA and Noggin+RAi-treated cultures, we did not observe the high percentages of cardiomyocytes bearing nodal-like APs reported in previous studies6,9.

[0098] There are important kinetic differences in Ca2+ sparks, the elementary unit of cardiomyocyte Ca2+ signaling, in atrial versus ventricular myocytes27,28. Ca2+ sparks are significantly larger and longer lasting in atrial myocytes than those in ventricular myocytes28,29. Results of imaging studies indicated that in Noggin+RAi-treated culture 87.5% (14/16) of cells tested displayed Ca2+ sparks with relatively low amplitude, fast rise time, short half time decay and small size, typical Ca2+ spark properties of ventricular-like myocytes (Figures 4D, E). On the other hand, in Noggin+RA-treated cultures, 81.8% (18/22) of cells tested displayed Ca2+ sparks with higher amplitude, slower rise time, longer half time decay and larger size (Figure 4D, E), suggesting that the myocytes from Noggin+RA-treated cultures were atrial-like myocytes. The kinetic study of Ca2+ release and the ratios of cardiomyocytes bearing those two patterns in the two differently-treated cultures are consistent with, and support, previous AP phenotyping-based cardiac subtype categorization.

Discussion



[0099] Our results show that inhibition of BMP signaling after the initiation of cardiac differentiation promotes cardiogenesis of hESCs. This is partially consistent with the studies on mouse embryonic stem cells showing that administrating Noggin before initiation of differentiation promotes cardiogenesis13. Further comparing Noggin treated cells with non-treated cells revealed that granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) promotes the proliferation of developing cardiomycotes derived from mouse embryonic stem cells30. Noggin sustains undifferentiated proliferation of hESCs31, and BMP4 is required for mouse embryonic stem cell self-renew32. These different self-renewal machineries could be the cause of the differences observed in the cardiac differentiation studies of human and mouse embryonic stem cells.

[0100] Even though western blots revealed the differential expressions of ANF and MLC-2a, both genes are expressed in 60 day old Noggin+RA- and Noggin+RAi-treated cultures (Figure 6). This is consistent with Dr. Rosenthal's statement, which indicated that there is no early atrial specific marker in mouse system. Instead, they used a proximal 840 bp quail SMyHC3 promoter to label the sino-atrial tissue from the earliest stage of heart developing5.

[0101] Previous studies of chicken and mouse embryos have proposed that RA signaling determines sinoatrial cell fate, whereas ventricular fate is specified in the absence of RA20. Our study shows that blocking RA signaling induces the expression of the ventricle-specific marker MLC-2v in major hESC-derived cardiomyocytes, and that these cells possess APs and Ca2+ sparks typical of ventricular myocytes. Exogenous RA treatment directs the differentiation of hESCs into myocytes which retain characteristic atrial-like APs and large Ca2+ sparks or Ca2+ transients. Our results demonstrate that the activation or inhibition of retinoid signals instructs atrial versus ventricular specification of differentiating hESCs. Different from our results, previous study shows that RA enhances development of ventricular cardiomyocytes derived from mouse embryonic stem cells33. This could represent the differences on the differentiation culture systems used in the two studies, embryoid body procedure versus flat culture system, and the timing when RA is admitted.

[0102] Potential risk of ventricular arrhythmias caused by the heterogeneity of hESC-derived cardiomyocytes is one of the major hurdles for application of hESCs to cardiac repair1,6,10. Application of relatively homogeneous ventricular myocytes derived from hESCs in myocardial repair has great potential to reduce this risk, removing one of the major barriers for developing hESC based myocardial repair strategy. Recent advance in tissue engineering, which shows that mouse ventricular progenitor cells can be isolated from mouse embryonic stem cell derivatives using a genetic labeling approach, and are used to generate functional ventricular muscles34, suggests that human functional ventricular heart muscles can be generated with embryonic ventricular-like mycoytes directly differentiated from hESCs. With a chemical defined culture system and no genetic manipulation, the direct differentiation procedures we developed would be easy to employed in clinical studies of myocardial repair. Another challenge for developing hESC based myocardial repair is to develop the biotechnology for rapidly generating the large amounts of ventricular myoctes needed for transplantation. Our study demonstrated the efficient differentiation of embryonic atrial- and ventricular-like myocytes from hESCs by eliminating embryoid body procedure, a time consuming step which is commonly used in cardiac differentiation of embryonic stem cells. If combined together with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology35,36, programmed differentiation of atrial- and ventricular-like myocytes could be used to develop not only safe cell sources for personalized cardiac repair, but could also provide cellular models for the study of genetic atrial or ventricular diseases.

References:



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[0104] Citation of the above publications or documents is not intended as an admission that any of the foregoing is pertinent prior art, nor does it constitute any admission as to the contents or date of these publications or documents.


Claims

1. An in vitro method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from a stem cell, which method comprises inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in a stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm,
wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or a retinoic X receptor antagonist, or by depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell.
 
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the stem cell is a mammalian stem cell.
 
3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the stem cell is a pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent or unipotent stem cell, an embryonic stem cell, an induced pluripotent stem cell, a fetal stem cell, or an adult stem cell.
 
4. The method of any of claims 1-3, wherein the stem cell is a human embryonic stem cell or a human induced pluripotent stem cell.
 
5. The method of any of claims 1-4, wherein the stem cell has differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), BMP 4 and/or activin A.
 
6. The method of any one of claims 1-4, wherein the stem cell has differentiated to form mesoderm by contacting an undifferentiated stem cell with Wnt-3a, Bio, or CHIR99021.
 
7. The method of any one of claims 1-6, wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with BMS-189453, BMS-453, AGN194310, AGN193109, Ro41-5253, SR11335, 9-cis-retinoic acid, disulfiram, or citral.
 
8. The method of any one of claims 1-7, further comprising contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist.
 
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the BMP antagonist is a BMP 4 antagonist, Noggin, Chordin, Tsg, a BMP soluble receptor, BMPRIA, BMPRIB, a small molecule which acts or functions like BMP antagonist, or Dorsomorphin.
 
10. The method of any one of claims 1-9, further comprising contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a Wnt inhibitor, preferably dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1).
 
11. A pharmaceutical composition comprising cardiomyocytes produced by the method of any of claims 1-10, wherein at least about 90 % of cardiomyocytes in the pharmaceutical composition are ventricular cardiomyocytes.
 
12. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 11 for use in the treatment of a cardiac injury or disorder in a subject.
 
13. An in vitro method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation comprising

1) contacting a stem cell with bFGF, BMP4, and/or activin A to differentiate the stem cell to form mesoderm;

2) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist; and

3) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and has been treated with the BMP antagonist, wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or a retinoic X receptor antagonist, or by depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell,

thereby promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from the stem cell, wherein the method optionally further comprises inhibiting Wnt signaling pathway in the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm, preferably by contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with DKK1.
 
14. An in vitro method for promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation comprising

1) contacting a stem cell with Wnt-3a, Bio, or CHIR99021 to differentiate the stem cell to form mesoderm;

2) contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with a BMP antagonist; and

3) inhibiting retinoic acid signaling pathway in the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm and has been treated with the BMP antagonist, wherein the retinoic acid signaling pathway is inhibited by contacting the stem cell with a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist, a retinoic acid antagonist, a retinoic acid receptor antagonist, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, or a retinoic X receptor antagonist, or by depleting vitamin A in the culture medium for the stem cell,

thereby promoting ventricular cardiomyocyte formation from the stem cell, wherein the method optionally further comprises inhibiting Wnt signaling pathway in the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm, such as by contacting the stem cell that has differentiated to form mesoderm with DKK1.
 


Ansprüche

1. In-vitro-Verfahren zur Förderung der Bildung von ventrikulären Kardiomyozyten aus einer Stammzelle, wobei das Verfahren das Inhibieren des Retinsäure-Signalwegs in einer Stammzelle umfasst, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden,
wobei der Retinsäure-Signalweg inhibiert wird, indem die Stammzelle mit einem Pan-Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Inhibitor der Retinsäuresynthese, oder einem Retino-X-Rezeptor-Antagonisten in Kontakt gebracht wird, oder indem Vitamin A in dem Kulturmedium für die Stammzelle depletiert wird.
 
2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Stammzelle eine Säugetierstammzelle ist.
 
3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Stammzelle eine pluripotente, multipotente, oligopotente oder unipotente Stammzelle, eine embryonale Stammzelle, eine induzierte pluripotente Stammzelle, eine fötale Stammzelle oder eine adulte Stammzelle ist.
 
4. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-3, wobei die Stammzelle eine humane embryonale Stammzelle oder eine humane induzierte pluripotente Stammzelle ist.
 
5. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-4, wobei sich die Stammzelle differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, indem eine undifferenzierte Stammzelle mit basischem Fibroblastenwachstumsfaktor (bFGF), BMP 4 und/oder Activin A in Kontakt gebracht wird.
 
6. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-4, wobei sich die Stammzelle differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, indem eine undifferenzierte Stammzelle mit Wnt-3a, Bio oder CHIR99021 in Kontakt gebracht wird.
 
7. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-6, wobei der Retinsäure-Signalweg inhibiert wird, indem die Stammzelle mit BMS-189453, BMS-453, AGN194310, AGN193109, Ro41-5253, SR11335, 9-cis-Retinsäure, Disulfiram oder Citral in Kontakt gebracht wird.
 
8. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-7, das ferner das In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit einem BMP-Antagonisten umfasst.
 
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei der BMP-Antagonist ein BMP-4-Antagonist, Noggin, Chordin, Tsg, ein löslicher BMP-Rezeptor, BMPRIA, BMPRIB, ein kleines Molekül, das wie ein BMP-Antagonist agiert oder funktioniert, oder Dorsomorphin ist.
 
10. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-9, das ferner das In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit einem Wnt-Inhibitor, vorzugsweise Dickkopf Homolog 1 (DKK1), umfasst.
 
11. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung, die Kardiomyozyten aufweist, die durch das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1-10 hergestellt wurden, wobei zumindest etwa 90 % der Kardiomyozyten in der pharmazeutischen Zusammensetzung ventrikuläre Kardiomyozyten sind.
 
12. Pharmazeutische Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 11 für die Verwendung in der Behandlung einer kardialen Schädigung oder Störung in einem Subjekt.
 
13. In-vitro-Verfahren zur Förderung der Bildung von ventrikulären Kardiomyozyten, das Folgendes umfasst:

1) In-Kontakt-Bringen einer Stammzelle mit bFGF, BMP4 und/oder Activin A, um die Stammzelle zu differenzieren, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden;

2) In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit einem BMP-Antagonisten; und

3) Inhibieren des Retinsäure-Signalwegs in der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, und mit dem BMP-Antagonisten behandelt wurde, wobei der Retinsäure-Signalweg inhibiert wird, indem die Stammzelle mit einem Pan-Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Inhibitor der Retinsäuresynthese, oder einem Retin-X-Rezeptor-Antagonisten in Kontakt gebracht wird, oder durch Depletieren von Vitamin A in dem Kulturmedium für die Stammzelle,

wodurch die Bildung von ventrikulären Kardiomyozyten aus der Stammzelle gefördert wird, wobei das Verfahren optional ferner das Inhibieren des Wnt-Signalwegs in der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, umfasst, vorzugsweise durch In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit DKK1.
 
14. In-vitro-Verfahren zur Förderung der Bildung von ventrikulären Kardiomyozyten, das Folgendes umfasst:

1) In-Kontakt-Bringen einer Stammzelle mit Wnt-3a, Bio oder CHIR99021, um die Stammzelle zu differenzieren, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden;

2) In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit einem BMP-Antagonisten; und

3) Inhibieren des Retinsäure-Signalwegs in der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, und die mit dem BMP-Antagonisten behandelt wurde, wobei der Retinsäure-Signalweg inhibiert wird, indem die Stammzelle mit einem Pan-Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Antagonisten, einem Retinsäure-Rezeptor-Antagonisten, einem Inhibitor der Retinsäuresynthese oder einem Retin-X-Rezeptor-Antagonist in Kontakt gebracht wird, oder durch Depletieren von Vitamin A in dem Kulturmedium für die Stammzelle,

wodurch die Bildung von ventrikulären Kardiomyozyten aus der Stammzelle gefördert wird, wobei das Verfahren optional ferner das Inhibieren des Wnt-Signalwegs in der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, umfasst, wie beispielsweise durch In-Kontakt-Bringen der Stammzelle, die sich differenziert hat, um ein Mesoderm zu bilden, mit DKK1.
 


Revendications

1. Procédé in vitro pour favoriser la formation de cardiomyocytes ventriculaires à partir d'une cellule souche, lequel procédé comprend le fait d'inhiber la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque dans une cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme,
dans lequel la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque est inhibée par mise en contact de la cellule souche avec un antagoniste du récepteur de l'acide pan-rétinoïque, un antagoniste de l'acide rétinoïque, un antagoniste du récepteur de l'acide rétinoïque, un inhibiteur de la synthèse de l'acide rétinoïque ou un antagoniste du récepteur X rétinoïque, ou par appauvrissement en vitamine A du milieu de culture pour la cellule souche.
 
2. Procédé de la revendication 1, dans lequel la cellule souche est une cellule souche de mammifère.
 
3. Procédé de la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel la cellule souche est une cellule souche pluripotente, multipotente, oligopotente ou unipotente, une cellule souche embryonnaire, une cellule souche pluripotente induite, une cellule souche fœtale ou une cellule souche adulte.
 
4. Procédé de l'une des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel la cellule souche est une cellule souche embryonnaire humaine ou une cellule souche pluripotente induite humaine.
 
5. Procédé de l'une des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel la cellule souche s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme par mise en contact d'une cellule souche non différenciée avec le facteur de croissance des fibroblastes basique (bFGF), BMP 4 et/ou l'activine A.
 
6. Procédé de l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel la cellule souche s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme par mise en contact d'une cellule souche non différenciée avec Wnt-3a, Bio ou CHIR99021.
 
7. Procédé de l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque est inhibée par mise en contact de la cellule souche avec BMS-189453, BMS-453, AGN194310, AGN193109, Ro41-5253, SR11335, l'acide 9-cis-rétinoïque, le disulfirame ou le citral.
 
8. Procédé de l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, comprenant en outre le fait de mettre en contact la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec un antagoniste de BMP.
 
9. Procédé de la revendication 8, dans lequel l'antagoniste de BMP est un antagoniste de BMP 4, la Noggin, la Chordine, Tsg, un récepteur soluble de BMP, BMPRIA, BMPRIB, une petite molécule qui agit ou fonctionne comme un antagoniste de BMP, ou la Dorsomorphine.
 
10. Procédé de l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, comprenant en outre le fait de mettre en contact la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec un inhibiteur de Wnt, de préférence l'homologue 1 de dickkopf (DKK1).
 
11. Composition pharmaceutique comprenant des cardiomyocytes produits par le procédé de l'une des revendications 1 à 10, dans laquelle au moins environ 90% des cardiomyocytes dans la composition pharmaceutique sont des cardiomyocytes ventriculaires.
 
12. Composition pharmaceutique de la revendication 11 pour une utilisation dans le traitement d'une lésion ou d'un trouble cardiaque chez un sujet.
 
13. Procédé in vitro pour favoriser la formation de cardiomyocytes ventriculaires comprenant le fait

1) de mettre en contact une cellule souche avec bFGF, BMP4 et/ou l'activine A pour différencier la cellule souche pour former le mésoderme ;

2) de mettre en contact la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec un antagoniste de BMP ; et

3) d'inhiber la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque dans la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme et a été traitée avec l'antagoniste de BMP, où la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque est inhibée par mise en contact de la cellule souche avec un antagoniste du récepteur de l'acide pan-rétinoïque, un antagoniste de l'acide rétinoïque, un antagoniste du récepteur de l'acide rétinoïque, un inhibiteur de la synthèse de l'acide rétinoïque, ou un antagoniste du récepteur X rétinoïque, ou par appauvrissement en vitamine A du milieu de culture pour la cellule souche,

favorisant ainsi la formation de cardiomyocytes ventriculaires à partir de la cellule souche, où le procédé comprend en outre facultativement le fait d'inhiber la voie de signalisation de Wnt dans la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme, de préférence par mise en contact de la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec DKK1.
 
14. Procédé in vitro pour favoriser la formation de cardiomyocytes ventriculaires comprenant le fait

1) de mettre en contact une cellule souche avec Wnt-3a, Bio ou CHIR99021 pour différencier la cellule souche pour former le mésoderme ;

2) de mettre en contact la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec un antagoniste de BMP ; et

3) d'inhiber la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque dans la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme et a été traitée avec l'antagoniste de BMP, où la voie de signalisation de l'acide rétinoïque est inhibée par mise en contact de la cellule souche avec un antagoniste de récepteur de l'acide pan-rétinoïque, un antagoniste de l'acide rétinoïque, un antagoniste du récepteur de l'acide rétinoïque, un inhibiteur de la synthèse de l'acide rétinoïque, ou un antagoniste du récepteur X rétinoïque, ou par appauvrissement en vitamine A du milieu de culture pour la cellule souche,

favorisant ainsi la formation de cardiomyocytes ventriculaires à partir de la cellule souche, où le procédé comprend en outre facultativement le fait d'inhiber la voie de signalisation de Wnt dans la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme, par exemple par mise en contact de la cellule souche qui s'est différenciée pour former le mésoderme avec DKK1.
 




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