Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Oxid Med Cell Longev


Stem/progenitor cells from multiple tissues have been isolated based on enhanced activity of cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzyme. ALDH activity has emerged as a reliable marker for stem/progenitor cells, such that ALDH(bright/high) cells from multiple tissues have been shown to possess enhanced stemness properties (self-renewal and multipotency). So far though, not much is known about ALDH activity in specific fetal organs. In this study, we sought to analyze the presence and activity of the ALDH enzyme in the stem cell antigen-1-positive (Sca-1+) cells of fetal human heart. Biochemical assays showed that a subpopulation of Sca-1+ cells (15%) possess significantly high ALDH1 activity. This subpopulation showed increased expression of self-renewal markers compared to the ALDH(low) fraction. The ALDH(high) fraction also exhibited significant increase in proliferation and pro-survival gene expression. In addition, only the ALDH(high) and not the ALDH(low) fraction could give rise to all the cell types of the original population, demonstrating multipotency. ALDH(high) cells showed increased resistance against aldehyde challenge compared to ALDH(low) cells. These results indicate that ALDH(high) subpopulation of the cultured human fetal cells has enhanced self-renewal, multipotency, high proliferation, and survival, indicating that this might represent a primitive stem cell population within the fetal human heart.

Medical Subject Headings

Aldehyde Dehydrogenase; Cell Proliferation; Fetal Heart; Flow Cytometry; Gene Expression; Humans; Immunomagnetic Separation; Ki-67 Antigen; Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2; Stem Cells

PubMed ID




First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.