Targeting HIF-1α in combination with PPARα activation and postnatal factors promotes the metabolic maturation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2019 07; 132:120-135.JM
Immature phenotypes of cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-CMs) limit the utility of these cells in clinical application and basic research. During cardiac development, postnatal cardiomyocytes experience high oxygen tension along with a concomitant downregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), leading to increased fatty acid oxidation (FAO). We hypothesized that targeting HIF-1α alone or in combination with other metabolic regulators could promote the metabolic maturation of hiPSC-CMs. We examined the effect of HIF-1α inhibition on the maturation of hiPSC-CMs and investigated a multipronged approach to promote hiPSC-CM maturation by combining HIF-1α inhibition with molecules that target key pathways involved in the energy metabolism. Cardiac spheres of highly-enriched hiPSC-CMs were treated with a HIF-1α inhibitor alone or in combination with an agonist of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α (PPARα) and three postnatal factors (triiodothyronine hormone T3, insulin-like growth factor-1 and dexamethasone). HIF-1α inhibition significantly increased FAO and basal and maximal respiration of hiPSC-CMs. Combining HIF-1α inhibition with PPARα activation and the postnatal factors further increased FAO and improved mitochondrial maturation in hiPSC-CMs. Compared with mock-treated cultures, the cultures treated with the five factors had increased mitochondrial content and contained more cells with mitochondrial distribution throughout the cells, which are features of more mature cardiomyocytes. Consistent with these observations, a number of transcriptional regulators of mitochondrial metabolic processes were upregulated in hiPSC-CMs treated with the five factors. Furthermore, these cells had significantly increased Ca2+ transient kinetics and contraction and relaxation velocities, which are functional features for more mature cardiomyocytes. Therefore, targeting HIF-1α in combination with other metabolic regulators significantly improves the metabolic maturation of hiPSC-CMs.