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Heart Attack Modeled With Human Stem Cells

OKAYAMA (JP), November 2019 — Researchers at Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences developed a model of myocardial infarction using cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells.The study was published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Ken Takahashi, Ph.D., is corresponding author, and Wei Heng, MSc., a graduate student in the Naruse Lab, is first author.

To date, laboratory animals such as mice have been used to model diseases including myocardial infarction. However, there have been concerns about difference in characteristics of cardiomyocytes, e.g., heart rate and action of drugs, based on the difference of gene expression between laboratory animals and human.

Using this model, researchers can evaluate the extent of myocardial tissue damage by microscope morphologically, and by measuring injury-marker proteins and analyzing contractility and its synchroneity from recorded movie quantitatively. Further analysis revealed that gene expression of interleukin-8, an inflammation marker known to increase in acute myocardial infarction, increased in this model.

"This myocardial infarction model will contribute to the development of preventive/therapeutic medicine more effective to human even without sacrificing animals," said Dr. Takahashi.

Microscopic picture of cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Green indicates cardiac troponin protein, showing typical striated pattern; red indicates actin protein; blue indicates cellular nucleus. Image courtesy of Okayama University.

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