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hiPSC-derived Atrial Myocyte-based Drug Platform

Cell type heterogeneity, specificity, and translatability to human physiology confound in vitro drug screening systems that aim to discover new treatments for atrial fibrillation. In a recent STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study, researchers led by Glen F. Tibbits (British Columbia Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) describe the development of a drug screening platform using human induced pluripotent stem cell‐derived atrial cardiomyocytes (hiPSC‐aCMs) and a multiwell optical mapping system. Gunawan et al. report how the high‐content optical mapping system provides a readout of membrane voltage and Ca2+ transients, which serve as critical biomarkers of cardiac function in vitro, and how the hiPSC‐aCMs generated by this protocol possess atrial‐specific molecular profiles, functional signatures, and pharmacological response. Overall, these findings provide evidence of the applicability of this platform to preclinical drug screening for atrial fibrillation therapies.