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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1718041, 12 pages
Research Article

Electrical Stimulation Promotes Cardiac Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

1O’Brien Institute Department, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Fitzroy, VIC 3065, Australia
2Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
3Bionics Institute, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
4Medical Bionics Department, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
5Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
6Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
7School of Medicine, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7005, Australia
8Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia

Received 29 June 2015; Revised 12 August 2015; Accepted 12 August 2015

Academic Editor: Heinrich Sauer

Copyright © 2016 Damián Hernández 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.


Background. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an attractive source of cardiomyocytes for cardiac repair and regeneration. In this study, we aim to determine whether acute electrical stimulation of human iPSCs can promote their differentiation to cardiomyocytes. Methods. Human iPSCs were differentiated to cardiac cells by forming embryoid bodies (EBs) for 5 days. EBs were then subjected to brief electrical stimulation and plated down for 14 days. Results. In iPS(Foreskin)-2 cell line, brief electrical stimulation at 65 mV/mm or 200 mV/mm for 5 min significantly increased the percentage of beating EBs present by day 14 after plating. Acute electrical stimulation also significantly increased the cardiac gene expression of ACTC1, TNNT2, MYH7, and MYL7. However, the cardiogenic effect of electrical stimulation was not reproducible in another iPS cell line, CERA007c6. Beating EBs from control and electrically stimulated groups expressed various cardiac-specific transcription factors and contractile muscle markers. Beating EBs were also shown to cycle calcium and were responsive to the chronotropic agents, isoproterenol and carbamylcholine, in a concentration-dependent manner. Conclusions. Our results demonstrate that brief electrical stimulation can promote cardiac differentiation of human iPS cells. The cardiogenic effect of brief electrical stimulation is dependent on the cell line used.