Abstract 142: Defining the Non-Myocyte Compartment is Key for Enhanced Maturation of Human Engineered Heart Muscle
Background: Tissue engineering of heart muscle from human pluripotent stem cells holds great potential for in vitro studies, disease modeling, and cardiac replacement therapy. A number of variables may however affect maturation and function of human cardiomyocytes (CM) in tissue engineered heart muscle (EHM). Here, we hypothesized that defined non-myocyte (NM) populations support structural and functional maturation of EHM.
Methods and Results: To investigate the role of non-myocytes (NM) for heart muscle assembly in vitro we generated EHM from purified CM (93±1.5% actinin+) and a mixture of CM and NM (70/30%). Notably, only the NM-supplemented EHM generated measurable forces (0.8±0.1 mN, n=9) with anisotropically aligned cardiomyocytes. Depending on pluripotent stem cell line and differentiation protocol the NM compartment may vary considerably. To further define the influence of the NM compartment we generated EHM from HES2-derived CM with undefined NM, i.e the NM typically derived during cardiac differentiation, and defined NM (fibroblasts). Defined EHM were more mature with higher forces and lower variability between experimental series (defined: 9.8±0.9 nN/CM, undefined: 4.7±1.4 nN/CM, n=10/9), higher EC50 for calcium, and enhanced inotropic response to isoprenaline despite comparable CM:NM composition of 1:1. Increased actinin protein per CM, a reduction of MLC2V/2A double positive CM, and evidence of CM cycle withdrawal indicated enhanced ventricular maturation in defined EHM. Next, we tested whether defining cell composition and NM in iPS-derived EHM will yield a comparable functional phenotype to HES2-EHM. In agreement with the above data, defined iPS-EHM displayed advanced functional maturation with high specific forces, comparable calcium EC50, and inotropic response to isoprenaline.
Summary and Conclusions: Here we demonstrate that defining the NM compartment is essential for optimized human heart muscle formation and maturation in vitro. Moreover, our data provide (1) evidence for the applicability of EHM in modelling of heart muscle development and (2) a strong rationale for the need to define CM and NM compartments in tissue engineered myocardium to reduce variability in applications such as disease modelling.
Author Disclosures: M. Tiburcy: None J.E. Hudson: None D. Ziebolz: None W.H. Zimmermann: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.