On the Problem of Cardiogenic Differentiation: Extracellular Matrix as an Emerging Clue
It is well known that myocardium fails to regenerate due to the lack of adult cardiomyocyte proliferation. In this regard, a lot of methods for cardiogenic differentiation of different cells are currently developed to provide an alternative source of functionally active cardiomyocytes, including embryonic stem cells, cardiac stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and fibroblasts. However, the approaches available show quite a poor result in the efficiency as well as estimation criteria of cardiac differentiation. Many studies are intended to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of cardiogenesis to mimic them in vitro, but significant advances in studying of intracellular signaling pathways during heart development are insufficient to produce high efficient methods. Extracellular matrix is another component which is becoming acknowledged as a key player in heart differentiation. However, investigation of its spatiotemporal effects on cardiomyocyte maturation is limited due to the challenges in cell-matrix handling within the heart tissue. We consider that cardiomyocyte primary culture may be a good model for studying the role of extracellular matrix in cardiogenesis, being an easy to manipulate homogenous culture of cardiomyocytes, which synchronically follow rearrangements similar to their embryonic developmental stages. The better understanding of the cell-matrix interactions underlying cardiomyocyte maturation may bring researchers closer to the efficient cardiogenic differentiation.