Criticality of the biological and physical stimuli array inducing resident cardiac stem cell determination

Giancarlo Forte, Felicia Carotenuto, Francesca Pagliari, Stefania Pagliari, Paolo Cossa, Roberta Fiaccavento, Arti Ahluwalia, Giovanni Vozzi, Bruna Vinci, Annalucia Serafino, Antonio Rinaldi, Enrico Traversa, Luciana Carosella, Marilena Minieri, Paolo Di Nardo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The replacement of injured cardiac contractile cells with stem cell-derived functionally efficient cardiomyocytes has been envisaged as the resolutive treatment for degenerative heart diseases. Nevertheless, many technical issues concerning the optimal procedures to differentiate and engraft stem cells remain to be answered before heart cell therapy could be routinely used in clinical practice. So far, most studies have been focused on evaluating the differentiative potential of different growth factors without considering that only the synergistic cooperation of biochemical, topographic, chemical, and physical factors could induce stem cells to adopt the desired phenotype. The present study demonstrates that the differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells to cardiomyocytes does not occur when cells are challenged with soluble growth factors alone, but requires strictly controlled procedures for the isolation of a progenitor cell population and the artifactual recreation of a microenvironment critically featured by a fine-tuned combination of specific biological and physical factors. Indeed, the scaffold geometry and stiffness are crucial in enhancing growth factor differentiative effects on progenitor cells. The exploitation of this concept could be essential in setting up suitable procedures to fabricate functionally efficient engineered tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2093-2103
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac progenitor cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Three-dimensional scaffolds
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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