Regulation of basal and norepinephrine-induced cAMP and ICa in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes: Effects of culture conditions and comparison to adult human atrial cardiomyocytes

  • BACKGROUND: There is ongoing interest in generating cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) to study human cardiac physiology and pathophysiology. Recently we found that norepinephrine-stimulated calcium currents (ICa) in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes were smaller in conventional monolayers (ML) than in engineered heart tissue (EHT). In order to elucidate culture specific regulation of β1-adrenoceptor (β1-AR) responses we investigated whether action of phosphodiesterases (PDEs) may limit norepinephrine effects on ICa and on cytosolic cAMP in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes. Results were compared to adult human atrial cardiomyocytes.

    METHODS: Adult human atrial cardiomyocytes were isolated from tissue samples obtained during open heart surgery. All patients were in sinus rhythm. HiPSC-cardiomyocytes were dissociated from ML and EHT. Förster-resonance energy transfer (FRET) was used to monitor cytosolic cAMP (Epac1-camps sensor, transfected by adenovirus). ICa was recorded by whole-cell patch clamp technique. Cilostamide (300 nM) and rolipram (10 μM) were used to inhibit PDE3 and PDE4, respectively. β1-AR were stimulated with the physiological agonist norepinephrine (100 μM).

    RESULTS: In adult human atrial cardiomyocytes, norepinephrine increased cytosolic cAMP FRET ratio by +13.7 ± 1.5% (n = 10/9, mean ± SEM, number of cells/number patients) and ICa by +10.4 ± 1.5 pA/pF (n = 15/10). This effect was not further increased in the concomitant presence of rolipram, cilostamide and norepinephrine, indicating saturation by norepinephrine alone. In ML hiPSC-cardiomyocytes, norepinephrine exerted smaller increases in cytosolic cAMP and ICa (FRET +9.6 ± 0.5% n = 52/21, number of cells/number of ML or EHT, and ICa + 1.4 ± 0.2 pA/pF n = 34/7, p < 0.05 each) and both were augmented in the presence of the PDE4 inhibitor rolipram (FRET +16.7 ± 0.8% n = 94/26 and ICa + 5.6 ± 1.4 pA/pF n = 11/5, p < 0.05 each). Cilostamide increased the response to norepinephrine on FRET (+12.7 ± 0.5% n = 91/19, p < 0.05), but not on ICa. In EHT hiPSC-cardiomyocytes, norepinephrine responses on both, FRET and ICa, were larger than in ML (FRET +12.1 ± 0.3% n = 87/32 and ICa + 3.3 ± 0.2 pA/pF n = 13/5, p < 0.05 each). Rolipram augmented the norepinephrine effect on ICa (+6.2 ± 1.6 pA/pF; p < 0.05 vs. norepinephrine alone, n = 10/4), but not on FRET.

    CONCLUSION: Our results show culture-dependent differences in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes. In conventional ML but not in EHT, maximum norepinephrine effects on cytosolic cAMP depend on PDE3 and PDE4, suggesting immaturity when compared to the situation in adult human atrial cardiomyocytes. The smaller ICa responses to norepinephrine in ML and EHT vs. adult human atrial cardiomyocytes depend at least partially on a non-physiological large impact of PDE4 in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes.

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