Chan SS, Chen JH, Hwang SM, Wang IJ, Li HJ, Lee RT, Hsieh PC. 2009. Salvianolic acid B-vitamin C synergy in cardiac differentiation from embryonic stem cells. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 387(4):723-8. Pubmed: 19643081 DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.07.122


Inefficient cardiomyocyte differentiation limits the therapeutic use of embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived cardiomyocytes. While large collections of proprietary chemicals had been screened to improve ES cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes, the natural product library remained unexplored. Using a mouse ES cell line transfected with a cardiomyocyte-specific alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter, we screened 24 natural products with known cardioprotective actions. Salvianolic acid B (saB), while produced minimal effect on its own, concentration-dependently synergized with vitamin C in inducing cardiomyocyte differentiation, as demonstrated by an increase in EGFP(+) cells, beating area in embryoid bodies, and expression of cardiomyocyte maturity markers. This synergy is specific to cardiomyocyte differentiation, and is involved with collagen synthesis. The present study demonstrates the saB-vitamin C synergy in inducing ES cell differentiation into matured and functional cardiomyocytes, and this may lead to a practicable cocktail approach to generate ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes for cardiac stem cell therapy.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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