Human cardiac stem cells exhibit mesenchymal features and are maintained through Akt/GSK-3β signaling

Kento Tateishi, Eishi Ashihara, Shoken Honsho, Naofumi Takehara, Tetsuya Nomura, Tomosaburo Takahashi, Tomomi Ueyama, Masaaki Yamagishi, Hitoshi Yaku, Hiroaki Matsubara, Hidemasa Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Recent evidence suggested that human cardiac stem cells (hCSCs) may have the clinical application for cardiac repair; however, their characteristics and the regulatory mechanisms of their growth have not been fully investigated. Here, we show the novel property of hCSCs with respect to their origin and tissue distribution in human heart, and demonstrate the signaling pathway that regulates their growth and survival. Telomerase-active hCSCs were predominantly present in the right atrium and outflow tract of the heart (infant > adult) and had a mesenchymal cell-like phenotype. These hCSCs expressed the embryonic stem cell markers and differentiated into cardiomyocytes to support cardiac function when transplanted them into ischemic myocardium. Inhibition of Akt pathway impaired the hCSC proliferation and induced apoptosis, whereas inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) enhanced their growth and survival. We conclude that hCSCs exhibit mesenchymal features and that Akt/GSK-3β may be crucial modulators for hCSC maintenance in human heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-641
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt/GSK-3β
  • Cardiac stem cells
  • Mesenchymal cells
  • Proliferation
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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