Development of a robust induced pluripotent stem cell atrial cardiomyocyte differentiation protocol to model atrial arrhythmia

Thorpe, Jordan and Perry, Matthew D. and Contreras, Osvaldo and Hurley, Emily and Parker, George and Harvey, Richard P. and Hill, Adam P. and Vandenberg, Jamie I. (2023) Development of a robust induced pluripotent stem cell atrial cardiomyocyte differentiation protocol to model atrial arrhythmia. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 14 (1). ISSN 1757-6512

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BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia syndrome and causes significant morbidity and mortality. Current therapeutics, however, have limited efficacy. Notably, many therapeutics shown to be efficacious in animal models have not proved effective in humans. Thus, there is a need for a drug screening platform based on human tissue. The aim of this study was to develop a robust protocol for generating atrial cardiomyocytes from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. METHODS: A novel protocol for atrial differentiation, with optimized timing of retinoic acid during mesoderm formation, was compared to two previously published methods. Each differentiation method was assessed for successful formation of a contractile syncytium, electrical properties assayed by optical action potential recordings and multi-electrode array electrophysiology, and response to the G-protein-gated potassium channel activator, carbamylcholine. Atrial myocyte monolayers, derived using the new differentiation protocol, were further assessed for cardiomyocyte purity, gene expression, and the ability to form arrhythmic rotors in response to burst pacing. RESULTS: Application of retinoic acid at day 1 of mesoderm formation resulted in a robust differentiation of atrial myocytes with contractile syncytium forming in 16/18 differentiations across two cell lines. Atrial-like myocytes produced have shortened action potentials and field potentials, when compared to standard application of retinoic acid at the cardiac mesoderm stage. Day 1 retinoic acid produced atrial cardiomyocytes are also carbamylcholine sensitive, indicative of active I(kach) currents, which was distinct from ventricular myocytes and standard retinoic addition in matched differentiations. A current protocol utilizing reduced Activin A and BMP4 can produce atrial cardiomyocytes with equivalent functionality but with reduced robustness of differentiation; only 8/17 differentiations produced a contractile syncytium. The day 1 retinoic acid protocol was successfully applied to 6 iPSC lines (3 male and 3 female) without additional optimization or modification. Atrial myocytes produced could also generate syncytia with rapid conduction velocities, > 40 cm s(-1), and form rotor style arrhythmia in response to burst pacing. CONCLUSIONS: This method combines an enhanced atrial-like phenotype with robustness of differentiation, which will facilitate further research in human atrial arrhythmia and myopathies, while being economically viable for larger anti-arrhythmic drug screens.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2024 03:18
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2024 03:18

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