Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Multipotency and cardiomyogenic potential of human adipose-derived stem cells from epicardium, pericardium, and omentum.



Acute myocardial infarction (MI) leads to an irreversible loss of proper cardiac function. Application of stem cell therapy is an attractive option for MI treatment. Adipose tissue has proven to serve as a rich source of stem cells (ADSCs). Taking into account the different morphogenesis, anatomy, and physiology of adipose tissue, we hypothesized that ADSCs from different adipose tissue depots may exert a diverse multipotency and cardiogenic potential.


The omental, pericardial, and epicardial adipose tissue samples were obtained from organ donors and patients undergoing heart transplantation at our institution. Human foreskin fibroblasts were used as the control group. Isolated ADSCs were analyzed for adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation capacity and proliferation potential. The immunophenotype and constitutive gene expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), GATA4, Nanog, and OCT4 were analyzed. DNA methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine was exposed to the cells to stimulate the cardiogenesis. Finally, reprogramming towards cardiomyocytes was initiated with exogenous overexpression of seven transcription factors (ESRRG, GATA4, MEF2C, MESP1, MYOCD, TBX5, ZFPM2) previously applied successfully for fibroblast transdifferentiation toward cardiomyocytes. Expression of cardiac troponin T (cTNT) and alpha-actinin (Actn2) was analyzed 3 weeks after initiation of the cardiac differentiation.


The multipotent properties of isolated plastic adherent cells were confirmed with expression of CD29, CD44, CD90, and CD105, as well as successful differentiation toward adipocytes and osteocytes; with the highest osteogenic and adipogenic potential for the epicardial and omental ADSCs, respectively. Epicardial ADSCs demonstrated a lower doubling time as compared with the pericardium and omentum-derived cells. Furthermore, epicardial ADSCs revealed higher constitutive expression of ALP and GATA4. Increased Actn2 and cTNT expression was observed after the transduction of seven reprogramming factors, with the highest expression in the epicardial ADSCs, as compared with the other ADSC subtypes and fibroblasts.


Human epicardial ADSCs revealed a higher cardiomyogenic potential as compared with the pericardial and omental ADSC subtypes as well as the fibroblast counterparts. Epicardial ADSCs may thus serve as the valuable subject for further studies on more effective methods of adult stem cell differentiation toward cardiomyocytes.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View