Amniotic fluid-derived stem cells for cardiovascular tissue engineering applications
Petsche, Jennifer J.
Jacot, Jeffrey G.
Recent research has demonstrated that a population of stem cells can be isolated from amniotic fluid removed by amniocentesis that are broadly multipotent and non-tumorogenic. These amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AFSC) could potentially provide an autologous cell source for treatment of congenital defects identified during gestation, particularly cardiovascular defects. In this review, the various methods of isolating, sorting and culturing AFSC are compared, along with techniques for inducing differentiation into cardiac myocytes and endothelial cells. Though research has not demonstrated complete and high yield cardiac differentiation, AFSC have been shown to effectively differentiate into endothelial cells and can effectively support cardiac tissue. Additionally, several tissue engineering and regenerative therapeutic approaches for the use of these cells in heart patches, injection after myocardial infarction, heart valves, vascularized scaffolds and blood vessels are summarized. These applications show great promise in the treatment of congenital cardiovascular defects, and further studies of isolation, culture, and differentiation of AFSC will help to develop their use for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cardiovascular therapies.