The face of epicardial and endocardial derived cells in zebrafish

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Zebrafish hearts can regenerate through activation of growth factors and trans-differentiation of fibroblasts, epicardial, myocardial and endocardial cells, all positive for GATA4 during the process. A possible model of regeneration of the whole heart and the regenerating cells in ex-vivo culture is presented here by a stimulation of cocktail of growth factors. In ex-vivo growth-factors-supplemented culture the heart regeneration was quite complete without signs of fibrosis. Epicardial- and endocardial-derived cells have been analyzed by electron microscopy evidencing two main types: 1) larger/prismatic and 2) small/rounded. Type (1) showed on the surface protein-sculptures, while type(2) was smooth with sparse globular proteins. To confirm their nature we have contemporarily analyzed their proliferative capability and markers-positivity. The cells treated by growth factors have at least two-fold more proliferation with GATA4-positivity. The type (1) cell evidenced WT1+(marker of embryonic epicardium); the type (2) showed NFTA2+(marker of embryonic endocardium); whereas cTNT-cardiotroponin was negative. Under growth factors stimulation, GATA4+/WT1+ and GATA4+/NFTA2+ could be suitable candidates to be the cells with capability to move in/out of the tissue, probably by using their integrins, and it opens the possibility to have long term selected culture to future characterization.HIGHLIGHTSGrowth factors cocktails can to lead a heart regeneration in ex-vivo culture.Ex-vivo cultures have permitted to characterize the cells with mobility capability.Epicardial- and endocardial-derived cells can be expanded for months in culture.Whole heart or cells culture open a new field of translational studies.

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