Friday, 21 December 2018 12:20

Hamburg: In vitro model against atrial fibrillation Featured

A team of researchers from the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) has succeeded in converting patient skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells from which they produced a beating human atrial heart muscle tissue. This model could be used for the development of personalised therapies against atrial fibrillation and can help to save animal experiments.

During the development of drugs to treat cardiac arrhythmias and to determine whether drugs can cause such kind of side effects, drug developers are also taking into account in vitro models in preclinical settings. Therefore many models are being examined for their suitability. Developers of in vitro models concentrate on the production of diverse heart cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).

In order to develop drugs to treat atrial fibrillation, industry needs models that can simulate the right atrium of the heart. Using retinoic acid amongst others, scientists led by Prof. Thomas Eschenhagen from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have succeeded in generating such an atrium from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The atrial heart tissue shows all properties that occur in an atrium compared to other heart tissues, such as higher mRNA and protein concentrations of atrial-selective markers, faster contraction, lower force generation, shorter action potential duration and a higher repolarisation rate. 

Original paper:
Marta Lemme, Bärbel M. Ulmer, Marc D. Lemoine, Antonia T.L. Zech, Frederik Flenner, Ursula Ravens, Hermann Reichenspurner, Miriam Rol-Garcia, Godfrey Smith, Arne Hansen, Torsten Christ & Thomas Eschenhagen (2018). Atrial-like Engineered Heart Tissue: An In Vitro Model of the Human Atrium. Stem Cell Reports.

Read more here: