Date: 17 May 2014

hiPSC Modeling of Inherited Cardiomyopathies

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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.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Regenerative Medicine and Stem-cell Therapy