Left Atrial Appendages from Adult Hearts Contain a Reservoir of Diverse Cardiac Progenitor Cells

Jussi V. Leinonen, Avishag K. Emanuelov, Yardanna Platt, Yaron Helman, Yael Feinberg, Chaim Lotan, Ronen Beeri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Aims: There is strong evidence supporting the claim that endogenous cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) are key players in cardiac regeneration, but the anatomic source and phenotype of the master cardiac progenitors remains uncertain. Our aim was to investigate the different cardiac stem cell populations in the left atrial appendage (LAA) and their fates. Methods and Results: We investigated the CPC content and profile of adult murine LAAs using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. We demonstrate that the LAA contains a large number of CPCs relative to other areas of the heart, representing over 20% of the total cell number. We grew two distinct CPC populations from the LAA by varying the degree of proteolysis. These differed by their histological location, surface marker profiles and growth dynamics. Specifically, CD45pos cells grew with milder proteolysis, while CD45neg cells grew mainly with more intense proteolysis. Both cell types could be induced to differentiate into cells with cardiomyocyte markers and organelles, albeit by different protocols. Many CD45pos cells expressed CD45 initially and rapidly lost its expression while differentiating. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the left atrial appendage plays a role as a reservoir of multiple types of progenitor cells in murine adult hearts. Two different types of CPCs were isolated, differing in their epicardial-myocardial localization. Considering studies demonstrating layer-specific origins of different cardiac progenitor cells, our findings may shed light on possible pathways to study and utilize the diversity of endogenous progenitor cells in the adult heart.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere59228
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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