Electrophysiological Maturation and Integration of Murine Fetal Cardiomyocytes After Transplantation
In the present study, we investigated the electrophysiological maturation and integration of immature cardiomyocytes after transplantation; maturation and integration are essential to achieve the cardiac regeneration. Murine fetal cardiomyocytes (FCMs) (d12.5-d15.5) expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein under the control of the α-actin promoter were injected into cryoinjured areas and adjacent myocardium of cryoinjured mouse ventricles. Viable short axis tissue slices (thickness, 150 μm) of the ventricles were prepared 5 to 6 days after transplantation. Glass microelectrodes were used for measurements of action potentials in transplanted FCMs and host cardiomyocytes within the slices. Stimulation at frequencies of up to 10 Hz was performed via a unipolar electrode placed in viable host tissue. Transplanted FCMs could be distinguished clearly from host tissue by their green fluorescence and their electrophysiological properties: maximal upstroke velocity (Vmax) was significantly lower and action potential duration at 50% repolarization (APD50) was significantly longer compared with values of adult cardiomyocytes. Transplanted FCMs surrounded by cryoinjured tissue showed spontaneous electrical and contractile activity, which was in no case synchronous with host tissue. Vmax and APD50 of these nonintegrated cells matched values of cultivated dissociated FCMs. In contrast, 82% of transplanted FCMs surrounded by viable host tissue were electrically integrated; ie, electrical and contractile activity was synchronous with host tissue and these cells had more mature action potential parameters (significantly higher Vmax and shorter APD50) compared with nonintegrated FCMs. In conclusion, electrophysiological maturation and integration of transplanted FCMs depend on an embedment in viable host myocardium. FCMs surrounded by cryoinjured tissue maintain physiological but immature AP properties.