Electrophysiological properties and calcium handling of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes
- Jae Boum Youm
- Integrative medicine research
OPINION STATEMENT Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) represent a powerful new model system to study the basic mechanisms of inherited cardiomyopathies. hiPSC-CMs have been utilized to model several cardiovascular diseases, achieving the most success in the inherited arrhythmias, including long QT and Timothy syndromes (Moretti et al. N Engl J Med. 363:1397-409, 2010; Yazawa et al. Nature. 471:230-4, 2011) and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) (Ma et al. Eur Heart J. 34:1122-33, 2013). Recently, studies have applied hiPSC-CMs to the study of both dilated (DCM) (Sun et al. Sci Transl Med. 4:130ra47, 2012) and hypertrophic (HCM) cardiomyopathies (Lan et al. Cell Stem Cell. 12:101-13, 2013; Carvajal-Vergara et al. Nature. 465:808-12, 2010), providing new insights into basic mechanisms of disease. However, hiPSC-CMs do not recapitulate many of the structural and functional aspects of mature human cardiomyocytes, instead mirroring an immature - embryonic or fetal - phenotype. Much work remains in order to better understand these differences, as well as to develop methods to induce hiPSC-CMs into a fully mature phenotype. Despite these limitations, hiPSC-CMs represent the best current in vitro correlate of the human heart and an invaluable tool in the search for mechanisms underlying cardiomyopathy and for screening new pharmacologic therapies.