Identification and biological characterization of chicken embryonic cardiac progenitor cells

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Many kinds of cardiac progenitor cell populations have been identified, including c-kit+, Nkx2.5+s and GATA4+ cells. However, these progenitors have limited ability to differentiate into different cardiac cell types. Recently, a new kind of cardiac progenitor cell named the multipotent Isl1+ cardiovascular progenitor (MICPs) has been identified, which also expresses Nkx2.5, GATA4, CD34 and Flk1. Materials and methods: In this study, we have isolated and characterized MICPs from chicken embryonic heart tissues using immunofluorescence and PCR. Results: Results shown that they express markers of cardiac progenitor cells, with high clonality. They have the ability to self-renew and can give rise to three types of heart cell in vitro. Conclusions: Myocytes, smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. Our work provides evidence for a developmental paradigm of the heart, that endothelial and muscle lineage diversification arises from multipotent cardiac progenitor cells. Existence of these cells provides a new opportunity for myocardial injury repair.

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