Patient characteristics and cell source determine the number of isolated human cardiac progenitor cells

Ayelet Itzhaki-Alfia, Jonathan Leor*, Ehud Raanani, Leonid Sternik, Dan Spiegelstein, Shiri Netser, Radka Holbova, Meirav Pevsner-Fischer, Jacob Lavee, Israel M. Barbash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND-: The identification and isolation of human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs) offer new approaches for myocardial regeneration and repair. Still, the optimal source of human cardiac progenitor cells and the influence of patient characteristics on their number remain unclear. Using a novel method to isolate human cardiac progenitor cells, we aimed to define the optimal source and association between their number and patient characteristics. METHODS AND RESULTS-: We developed a novel isolation method that produced viable cells (7×10±6.53×10/g) from various tissue samples obtained during heart surgery or endomyocardial biopsies (113 samples from 94 patients 23 to 80 years of age). The isolated cardiac cells were grown in culture with a stem cell expansion medium. According to fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, cultured cells derived from the right atrium generated higher amounts of c-kit (24±2.5%) and Islet-1 cells (7%) in culture (mean of passages 1, 2, and 3) than did cultured cells from the left atrium (7.3±3.5%), right ventricle (4.1±1.6%), and left ventricle (9.7±3%; P=0.001). According to multivariable analysis, the right atrium as the cell source and female sex were associated with a higher number of c-kit cells. There was no overlap between c-kit and Islet-1 expression. In vitro assays of differentiation into osteoblasts, adipocytes, and myogenic lineage showed that the isolated human cardiac progenitor cells were multipotent. Finally, the cells were transplanted into infarcted myocardium of rats and generated myocardial grafts. CONCLUSION-: Our results show that the right atrium is the best source for c-kit and Islet-1 progenitors, with higher percentages of c-kit cells being produced by women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2559-2566
Number of pages8
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 2009


FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme222995


    • Atrium
    • Cells
    • Heart failure
    • Stem cells


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