PloS one

HIF-1alpha Deficiency Attenuates the Cardiomyogenesis of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells.

PMID 27355368


Cardiac cell formation, cardiomyogenesis, is critically dependent on oxygen availability. It is known that hypoxia, a reduced oxygen level, modulates the in vitro differentiation of pluripotent cells into cardiomyocytes via hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1α)-dependent mechanisms. However, the direct impact of HIF-1α deficiency on the formation and maturation of cardiac-like cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) in vitro remains to be elucidated. In the present study, we demonstrated that HIF-1α deficiency significantly altered the quality and quantity of mESC-derived cardiomyocytes. It was accompanied with lower mRNA and protein levels of cardiac cell specific markers (myosin heavy chains 6 and 7) and with a decreasing percentage of myosin heavy chain α and β, and cardiac troponin T-positive cells. As to structural aspects of the differentiated cardiomyocytes, the localization of contractile proteins (cardiac troponin T, myosin heavy chain α and β) and the organization of myofibrils were also different. Simultaneously, HIF-1α deficiency was associated with a lower percentage of beating embryoid bodies. Interestingly, an observed alteration in the in vitro differentiation scheme of HIF-1α deficient cells was accompanied with significantly lower expression of the endodermal marker (hepatic nuclear factor 4 alpha). These findings thus suggest that HIF-1α deficiency attenuates spontaneous cardiomyogenesis through the negative regulation of endoderm development in mESC differentiating in vitro.