Combinatorial Treatment of Human Cardiac Engineered Tissues With Biomimetic Cues Induces Functional Maturation as Revealed by Optical Mapping of Action Potentials and Calcium Transients

Andy On Tik Wong, Nicodemus Wong, Lin Geng, Maggie Zi ying Chow, Eugene K. Lee, Hongkai Wu, Michelle Khine, Chi Wing Kong, Kevin D. Costa, Wendy Keung, Yiu Fai Cheung, Ronald A. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although biomimetic stimuli, such as microgroove-induced alignment (μ), triiodothyronine (T3) induction, and electrical conditioning (EC), have been reported to promote maturation of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs), a systematic examination of their combinatorial effects on engineered cardiac tissue constructs and the underlying molecular pathways has not been reported. Herein, human embryonic stem cell-derived ventricular cardiomyocytes (hESC-VCMs) were used to generate a micro-patterned human ventricular cardiac anisotropic sheets (hvCAS) for studying the physiological effects of combinatorial treatments by a range of functional, calcium (Ca2+)-handling, and molecular analyses. High-resolution optical mapping showed that combined μ-T3-EC treatment of hvCAS increased the conduction velocity, anisotropic ratio, and proportion of mature quiescent-yet-excitable preparations by 2. 3-, 1. 8-, and 5-fold (>70%), respectively. Such electrophysiological changes could be attributed to an increase in inward sodium current density and a decrease in funny current densities, which is consistent with the observed up- and downregulated SCN1B and HCN2/4 transcripts, respectively. Furthermore, Ca2+-handling transcripts encoding for phospholamban (PLN) and sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) were upregulated, and this led to faster upstroke and decay kinetics of Ca2+-transients. RNA-sequencing and pathway mapping of T3-EC-treated hvCAS revealed that the TGF-β signaling was downregulated; the TGF-β receptor agonist and antagonist TGF-β1 and SB431542 partially reversed T3-EC induced quiescence and reduced spontaneous contractions, respectively. Taken together, we concluded that topographical cues alone primed cardiac tissue constructs for augmented electrophysiological and calcium handling by T3-EC. Not only do these studies improve our understanding of hPSC-CM biology, but the orchestration of these pro-maturational factors also improves the use of engineered cardiac tissues for in vitro drug screening and disease modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • action potential
  • calcium handling
  • electrical conditioning
  • maturation
  • tissue engineering
  • triiodothyronine

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