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Modeling of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy With Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells *

Background—Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a primary heart muscle disorder resulting from desmosomal protein mutations. ARVC is characterized pathologically by fibrofatty infiltration and clinically by arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. We aimed to establish a patient-/disease-specific human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) model of ARVC.

Methods and Results—Dermal fibroblasts were obtained from 2 patients with ARVC with plakophilin-2 (PKP2) mutations, reprogrammed to generate hiPSCs, coaxed to differentiate into cardiomyocytes (CMs), and then compared with healthy control hiPSC-derived CMs (hiPSC-CMs). Real-time polymerase chain reaction showed a significant decrease in the expression of PKP2 in the ARVC-hiPSC-CMs. Immunostainings revealed reduced densities of PKP2, the associated desmosomal protein plakoglobin, and the gap-junction protein connexin-43. Electrophysiological assessment demonstrated prolonged field potential rise time in the ARVC-hiPSC-CMs. Transmission electron microscopy identified widened and distorted desmosomes in the ARVC-hiPSC-CMs. Clusters of lipid droplets were identified in the ARVC-CMs that displayed the more severe desmosomal pathology. This finding was associated with upregulation of the proadipogenic transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ. Exposure of the cells to apidogenic stimuli augmented desmosomal distortion and lipid accumulation. The latter phenomenon was prevented by application of a specific inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (6-bromoindirubin-3′-oxime).

Conclusions—This study highlights the unique potential of the hiPSC technology for modeling inherited cardiac disorders in general and ARVC specifically. The hiPSC-CMs were demonstrated to recapitulate the ARVC phenotype in the dish, provide mechanistic insights into early disease pathogenesis, and provide a unique platform for drug discovery and testing in this disorder.

URL: http://circgenetics.ahajournals.org/content/6/6/557.short

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

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Published on 12-03-2014