Original Article

Developmental regulation of intracellular calcium transients during cardiomyocyte differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells

Authors: Ji-dong Fu, Hui-mei Yu, Rong Wang, Ji Liang, Huang-tian Yang


Aim: To investigate the developmental regulation of intracellular Ca2+ transients, an essential event in excitation-contraction coupling, during cardiomyocyte differentiation.
Methods: Using the embryonic stem (ES) cell in vitro differentiation system and pharmacological intervention, we investigated the molecular and functional regulation of Ca2+ handling proteins on the Ca2+ transients at early, intermediate and later differentiation stages of ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes (ESCM).
Results: Nifedipine, a selective antagonist of L-type Ca2+ channels, totally blocked Ca2+ transients even in the condition of field-electric stimulation in ESCM at three differentiation stages. The Ca2+ transients of ESCM were also inhibited by both ryanodine [an inhibitor of ryanodine receptors (RyRs)] and 2-aminoethoxydipheylborate [2-APB, an inhibitor of inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs)]. The inhibitory effect of ryanodine increased with the time of differentiation, while the effect of 2-APB decreased with the differentiation. Thapsigargin, an inhibitor of SR Ca2+-pump ATPase, inhibited Ca2+ transients equally at three differentiation stages that matched the expression profile. Na+ free solution, which inhibits Na+-Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) to extrude Ca2+ from cytosol, did not affect the amplitude of Ca2+ transients of ESCM until the latter differentiation stage, but it significantly enhanced the basal Ca2+concentration.
Conclusion: The Ca2+ transients in ESCM depend on both the sarcolemmal Ca2+ entry via L-type Ca2+ channels and the SR Ca2+ release from RyRs and IP3Rs even at the early differentiation stage; but NCX seems not to regulate the peak of Ca2+ transients until the latter differentiation stage.

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