About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 503047, 15 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Cardiac-Resident Progenitor Cells Expressing High Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activity

1Department of Cardiology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Avenue du Bugnon, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
2Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Avenue du Bugnon, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
3Molecular Cardiology Laboratory, Fondazione Cardiocentro Ticino, Via Tesserete 48, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Received 16 August 2012; Revised 29 October 2012; Accepted 2 November 2012

Academic Editor: Franca Di Meglio

Copyright © 2013 Marc-Estienne Roehrich et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


High aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity has been associated with stem and progenitor cells in various tissues. Human cord blood and bone marrow ALDH-bright (ALDHbr) cells have displayed angiogenic activity in preclinical studies and have been shown to be safe in clinical trials in patients with ischemic cardiovascular disease. The presence of ALDHbr cells in the heart has not been evaluated so far. We have characterized ALDHbr cells isolated from mouse hearts. One percent of nonmyocytic cells from neonatal and adult hearts were ALDHbr. ALDHvery-br cells were more frequent in neonatal hearts than adult. ALDHbr cells were more frequent in atria than ventricles. Expression of ALDH1A1 isozyme transcripts was highest in ALDHvery-br cells, intermediate in ALDHbr cells, and lowest in ALDHdim cells. ALDH1A2 expression was highest in ALDHvery-br cells, intermediate in ALDHdim cells, and lowest in ALDHbr cells. ALDH1A3 and ALDH2 expression was detectable in ALDHvery-br and ALDHbr cells, unlike ALDHdim cells, albeit at lower levels compared with ALDH1A1 and ALDH1A2. Freshly isolated ALDHbr cells were enriched for cells expressing stem cell antigen-1, CD34, CD90, CD44, and CD106. ALDHbr cells, unlike ALDHdim cells, could be grown in culture for more than 40 passages. They expressed sarcomeric α-actinin and could be differentiated along multiple mesenchymal lineages. However, the proportion of ALDHbr cells declined with cell passage. In conclusion, the cardiac-derived ALDHbr population is enriched for progenitor cells that exhibit mesenchymal progenitor-like characteristics and can be expanded in culture. The regenerative potential of cardiac-derived ALDHbr cells remains to be evaluated.