Prolonged post-differentiation culture influences the expression and biophysics of Na+ and Ca2+ channels in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived ventricular-like cardiomyocytes


Center for Integrative Research on Cardiovascular Aging, Aurora Research Institute, Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/St. Luke's Medical Centers


Several studies have been reported in various domains from induction methods to utilities of somatic cell pluripotent reprogramming. However, one of the major struggles facing the research field of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived target cells is the lack of consistency in observations. This could be due to variety of reasons including varied culture periods post-differentiation. The cardiomyocytes (CMs) derived from iPSCs are commonly studied and proposed to be utilized in the comprehensive in vitro proarrhythmia initiative for drug safety screening. As the influence of varied culture periods on the electrophysiological properties of iPSC-CMs is not clearly known, using whole-cell patch clamp technique, we compared two groups of differentiated ventricular-like iPSC-CMs that are cultured for 10 to 15 days (D10-15) and more than 30 days (≥ D30) both under current and voltage clamps. The prolonged culture imparts increased excitability with high-frequency spontaneous action potentials, robust increase in the magnitude of peak Na+ current density, relatively shallow inactivation kinetics of Na+ channels, faster recovery from inactivation, and augmented Ca2+ current density. Quantitative real-time PCR studies of α-subunit transcripts showed enhanced mRNA expression of SCN1A, SCN5A Na+ channel subtypes, and CACNA1C, CACNA1G, and CACNA1I Ca2+ channel subtypes, in ≥ D30 group. Conclusively, the prolonged culture of differentiated iPSC-CMs affects the excitability, single-cell electrophysiological properties, and ion channel expressions. Therefore, following standard periods of culture across research studies while utilizing ventricular-like iPSC-CMs for in vitro health/disease modeling to study cellular functional mechanisms or test high-throughput drugs' efficacy and toxicity becomes crucial.

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