Dynamic loading of human engineered heart tissue enhances contractile function and drives a desmosome-linked disease phenotype

Jacqueline M Bliley, Mathilde C S C Vermeer, Rebecca M Duffy, Ivan Batalov, Duco Kramer, Joshua W Tashman, Daniel J Shiwarski, Andrew Lee, Alexander S Teplenin, Linda Volkers, Brian Coffin, Martijn F Hoes, Anna Kalmykov, Rachelle N Palchesko, Yan Sun, Jan D H Jongbloed, Nils Bomer, Rudolf A de Boer, Albert J H Suurmeijer, Daniel A PijnappelsMaria C Bolling, Peter van der Meer*, Adam W Feinberg*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

42 Citaten (Scopus)
318 Downloads (Pure)


The role that mechanical forces play in shaping the structure and function of the heart is critical to understanding heart formation and the etiology of disease but is challenging to study in patients. Engineered heart tissues (EHTs) incorporating human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes have the potential to provide insight into these adaptive and maladaptive changes. However, most EHT systems cannot model both preload (stretch during chamber filling) and afterload (pressure the heart must work against to eject blood). Here, we have developed a new dynamic EHT (dyn-EHT) model that enables us to tune preload and have unconstrained contractile shortening of >10%. To do this, three-dimensional (3D) EHTs were integrated with an elastic polydimethylsiloxane strip providing mechanical preload and afterload in addition to enabling contractile force measurements based on strip bending. Our results demonstrated that dynamic loading improves the function of wild-type EHTs on the basis of the magnitude of the applied force, leading to improved alignment, conduction velocity, and contractility. For disease modeling, we used hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from a patient with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy due to mutations in the desmoplakin gene. We demonstrated that manifestation of this desmosome-linked disease state required dyn-EHT conditioning and that it could not be induced using 2D or standard 3D EHT approaches. Thus, a dynamic loading strategy is necessary to provoke the disease phenotype of diastolic lengthening, reduction of desmosome counts, and reduced contractility, which are related to primary end points of clinical disease, such as chamber thinning and reduced cardiac output.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftScience Translational Medicine
Nummer van het tijdschrift603
StatusPublished - 21-jul.-2021

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