Drug-induced proarrhythmia is a major safety issue in drug development. Developing sensitive in vitro assays that can predict drug-induced cardiotoxicity in humans has been a challenge of toxicology research for decades. Recently, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human cardiomyocytes (iPSC-hCMs) have become a promising model because they largely replicate the electrophysiological behavior of human ventricular cardiomyocytes. Patient-specific iPSC-hCMs have been proposed for personalized cardiac drug selection and adverse drug response prediction; however, many procedures are involved in cardiomyocytes differentiation and purification process, which may result in large line-to-line and batch-to-batch variations. Here, we examined the purity, cardiac ion channel gene expression profile, and electrophysiological response of 3 batches of iPSC-hCMs from each of 2 major cell suppliers. We found that iPSC-hCMs from both vendors had similar purities. Most of the cardiac ion channel genes were expressed uniformly among different batches of iCells, while larger variations were found in Cor.4U cells, particularly in the expression of CACNA1C, KCND2, and KCNA5 genes, which could underlie the differences in baseline beating rate (BR) and field potential duration (FPD) measurements. Although, in general, the electrophysiological responses of different batches of cells to Na+, Ca2+, Ikr, and Iks channel blockers were similar, with Ikr blocker-induced proarrhythmia, the sensitivities were depended on baseline BR and FPD values: cells that beat slower had longer FPD and greater sensitivity to drug-induced proarrhythmia. Careful evaluation of the performance of iPSC-hCMs and methods of data analysis is warranted for shaping regulatory standards in qualifying iPSC-hCMs for drug safety testing.
Toxicological Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2017
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