Do Binucleate Cardiomyocytes Have A Role in Myocardial Repair? Insights Using Isolated Rodent Myocytes and Cell Culture

Michael J Stephen1, Brian J Poindexter1, Johan A Moolman2, David Sheikh-Hamad3, Roger J Bick1, *
1 Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Texas, USA
2 Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
3 Renal Section, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

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© Stephen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Medical School, MSB 2.288, 6431 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas 77030, Tel: (713)-500-5406; Fax: (713)-500-0730; E-mail: Roger.J.Bick@uth.tmc.edu


Neonatal and adult cardiomyocytes were isolated from rat hearts. Some of the adult myocytes were cultured to allow for cell dedifferentiation, a phenomenon thought to mimic cell changes that occur in stressed myocardium, with myocytes regressing to a fetal pattern of metabolism and stellate neonatal shape.

Using fluorescence deconvolution microscopy, cells were probed with fluorescent markers and scanned for a number of proteins associated with ion control, calcium movements and cardiac function. Image analysis of deconvoluted image stacks and sequential real-time image recordings of calcium transients of cells were made.

All three myocyte groups were predominantly comprised of binucleate cells. Clustering of proteins to a single nucleus was a common observation, suggesting that one nucleus is active in protein synthesis pathways, while the other nucleus assumes a ‘dormant’ or different role and that cardiomyocytes might be mitotically active even in late development, or specific protein syntheses could be targeted and regulated for reintroduction into the cell cycle.

Such possibilities would extend cardiac disease associated stem cell research and therapy options, while producing valuable insights into developmental and death pathways of binucleate cardiomyocytes (word count 183).