Human macrophages directly modulate iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes at healthy state and congenital arrhythmia model in vitro


Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology, vol.474, no.12, pp.1295-1310, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 474 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00424-022-02743-2
  • Journal Name: Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1295-1310
  • Keywords: Human-induced pluripotent stem cells, Cardiomyocytes, Macrophages, Arrhythmia, Immunocardiology, In vitro disease model
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The electrophysiological regulation of cardiomyocytes (CMs) by the cardiac macrophages (MΦs) has been recently described as an unconventional role of MΦs in the murine heart. Investigating the molecular and physiological modulation of CM by MΦ is critical to understand the novel mechanisms behind cardiac disorders from the systems perspective and to develop new therapeutic approaches. Here, we developed an in vitro direct coculture system to investigate the cellular and functional interaction between human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) and monocyte-derived MΦs both in healthy-state and congenital arrhythmia disease model associated with SCN5A ion channel mutations. Congenital arrhythmia patient-derived (P) and healthy individual-derived control (C) monocytes and derived MΦs exhibited distinct M1- and M2-like polarization-related gene expression pattern. The iPSC-CMs and MΦs formed direct membrane contacts in cocultures demonstrated by time-lapse imaging, scanning electron microscopy, and immunolabeling. The intracellular Ca2+ transients were observed in iPSC-CMs and MΦs when in contact with each other. Interestingly, the C-MΦs in direct contact with C-CMs significantly accelerated the contraction rates, demonstrating the positive chronotropic effect of MΦs on healthy cardiac cultures. Furthermore, the MΦs carrying the SCN5A gene mutation significantly enhanced the arrhythmic events in both C-CMs and P-CMs, implying that the sodium channel mutation in the MΦ is important for the CM function. Importantly, when C-MΦs were coupled to tachycardic P-CMs, the contraction frequency drastically decreased, and rhythmicity enhanced implicating the amelioration of the disease phenotype in vitro. Consequently, our results indicated the functional regulatory role of MΦs on human iPSC-CM contractility by membrane contacts in a physiologically relevant in vitro coculture model of both steady-state and arrhythmia. Our findings could serve as a valuable source for the development of effective immunoregulatory therapies for cardiac arrhythmia in the future. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].