Derivation of epicardium-derived progenitor cells (EPDCs) from adult epicardium.
Smart N., Riley PR.
The epicardium has, like the other cell lineages of the terminally differentiated adult heart, long been regarded as quiescent, incapable of migration or differentiation. In contrast, the embryonic epicardium possesses an innate ability to proliferate, migrate, and differentiate into a number of mature cardiovascular cell types, including vascular smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, cardiomyocytes, and, arguably, some endothelial cells. In recapitulating its essential developmental role, we recognized the ability of the actin-binding peptide thymosin beta4 (Tbeta4) to induce epicardium-derived progenitor cell (EPDC) migration from adult heart and noted the derivation of cell types originating from embryonic epicardium. This protocol provides a means of enabling adult EPDC outgrowth and culture. We establish a model system in which to study the ability of factors to influence the migration of vascular precursors and their differentiation and to move towards screening of small molecules ex vivo prior to clinical trials of therapeutic cardiac repair.