21 February 2018 at 15:00

SPEAKER Milena Bellin
LOCATION Seminar room at VIMM, via Orus 2, Padova
AFFILIATION Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands

Cardiomyocytes can now be derived with high efficiency from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes are increasingly recognized as having great value for modelling cardiovascular diseases, especially arrhythmia syndromes. They have also demonstrated relevance as in vitro systems for predicting drug responses, which makes them potentially useful for drug-screening and discovery, safety pharmacology and perhaps eventually for personalized medicine. Furthermore, gene editing techniques allow precise genetic modification of hPSC, including the repair of genetic defects. Analysis of isogenic cell pairs that differ exclusively at point mutations represents a useful approach to identify the true causative lesions.
I will discuss examples of cardiac arrhythmias that were studied with these models, including the long-QT and the Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndromes.
Finally, in the natural heart tissue, cardiomyocytes are surrounded by neighbouring cells, that include fibroblasts and vascular cells. I will present the development of multi-cellular three-dimensional cardiac microtissues where hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and cardiac fibroblasts are combined.