Absence of full-length dystrophin impairs normal maturation and contraction of cardiomyocytes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells.Cardiovasc Res. 2020 02 01; 116(2):368-382.CR
Heart failure invariably affects patients with various forms of muscular dystrophy (MD), but the onset and molecular sequelae of altered structure and function resulting from full-length dystrophin (Dp427) deficiency in MD heart tissue are poorly understood. To better understand the role of dystrophin in cardiomyocyte development and the earliest phase of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) cardiomyopathy, we studied human cardiomyocytes differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-CMs) obtained from the urine of a DMD patient.
METHODS AND RESULTS
The contractile properties of patient-specific hiPSC-CMs, with no detectable dystrophin (DMD-CMs with a deletion of exon 50), were compared to CMs containing a CRISPR-Cas9 mediated deletion of a single G base at position 263 of the dystrophin gene (c.263delG-CMs) isogenic to the parental line of hiPSC-CMs from a healthy individual. We hypothesized that the absence of a dystrophin-actin linkage would adversely affect myofibril and cardiomyocyte structure and function. Cardiomyocyte maturation was driven by culturing long-term (80-100 days) on a nanopatterned surface, which resulted in hiPSC-CMs with adult-like dimensions and aligned myofibrils.
Our data demonstrate that lack of Dp427 results in reduced myofibril contractile tension, slower relaxation kinetics, and to Ca2+ handling abnormalities, similar to DMD cells, suggesting either retarded or altered maturation of cardiomyocyte structures associated with these functions. This study offers new insights into the functional consequences of Dp427 deficiency at an early stage of cardiomyocyte development in both patient-derived and CRISPR-generated models of dystrophin deficiency.