Supplementary Material for: Embryonic Stem Cells Facilitate the Isolation of Persistent Clonal Cardiovascular Progenitor Cell Lines and Leukemia Inhibitor Factor Maintains Their Self-Renewal and Myocardial Differentiation Potential in vitro

Compelling evidence for the existence of somatic stem cells in the heart of different mammalian species has been provided by numerous groups; however, so far it has not been possible to maintain these cells as self-renewing and phenotypically stable clonal cell lines in vitro. Thus, we sought to identify a surrogate stem cell niche for the isolation and persistent maintenance of stable clonal cardiovascular progenitor cell lines, enabling us to study the mechanism of self-renewal and differentiation in these cells. Using postnatal murine hearts with a selectable marker as the stem cell source and embryonic stem cells and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)-secreting fibroblasts as a surrogate niche, we succeeded in the isolation of stable clonal cardiovascular progenitor cell lines. These cell lines self-renew in an LIF-dependent manner. They express both stemness transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog and early myocardial transcription factors Nkx2.5, GATA4, and Isl-1 at the same time. Upon LIF deprivation, they exclusively differentiate to functional cardiomyocytes and endothelial and smooth muscle cells, suggesting that these cells are mesodermal intermediates already committed to the cardiogenic lineage. Cardiovascular progenitor cell lines can be maintained for at least 149 passages over 7 years without phenotypic changes, in the presence of LIF-secreting fibroblasts. Isolation of wild-type cardiovascular progenitor cell lines from adolescent and old mice has finally demonstrated the general feasibility of this strategy for the isolation of phenotypically stable somatic stem cell lines.