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Cardiovascular Research

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 82  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 411 - 420

Differentiation of human adult cardiac stem cells exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields

R Gaetani, M Ledda, L Barile, I Chimenti, F De Carlo, E Forte, V Ionta, L Giuliani, E D`Emilia, G Frati, F Miraldi, D Pozzi, E Messina, S Grimaldi, A Giacomello and A. Lisi



Modulation of cardiac stem cell (CSC) differentiation with minimal manipulation is one of the main goals of clinical applicability of cell therapy for heart failure. CSCs, obtained from human myocardial bioptic specimens and grown as cardiospheres (CSps) and cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs), can engraft and partially regenerate the infarcted myocardium, as previously described. In this paper we assessed the hypothesis that exposure of CSps and CDCs to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs), tuned at Ca2+ ion cyclotron energy resonance (Ca2+-ICR), may drive their differentiation towards a cardiac-specific phenotype.

Methods and results

A significant increase in the expression of cardiac markers was observed after 5 days of exposure to Ca2+-ICR in both human CSps and CDCs, as evidenced at transcriptional, translational, and phenotypical levels. Ca2+ mobilization among intracellular storages was observed and confirmed by compartmentalized analysis of Ca2+ fluorescent probes.


These results suggest that ELF-EMFs tuned at Ca2+-ICR could be used to drive cardiac-specific differentiation in adult cardiac progenitor cells without any pharmacological or genetic manipulation of the cells that will be used for therapeutic purposes.

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