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J Biomol Screen. 2013 Jan;18(1):39-53. doi: 10.1177/1087057112457590. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Multiparameter in vitro assessment of compound effects on cardiomyocyte physiology using iPSC cells.

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Molecular Devices, LLC, Sunnyvale, CA, USA.


A large percentage of drugs fail in clinical studies due to cardiac toxicity; thus, development of sensitive in vitro assays that can evaluate potential adverse effects on cardiomyocytes is extremely important for drug development. Human cardiomyocytes derived from stem cell sources offer more clinically relevant cell-based models than those presently available. Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are especially attractive because they express ion channels and demonstrate spontaneous mechanical and electrical activity similar to adult cardiomyocytes. Here we demonstrate techniques for measuring the impact of pharmacologic compounds on the beating rate of cardiomyocytes with ImageXpress Micro and FLIPR Tetra systems. The assays employ calcium-sensitive dyes to monitor changes in Ca(2+) fluxes synchronous with cell beating, which allows monitoring of the beat rate, amplitude, and other parameters. We demonstrate here that the system is able to detect concentration-dependent atypical patterns caused by hERG inhibitors and other ion channel blockers. We also show that both positive and negative chronotropic effects on cardiac rate can be observed and IC(50) values determined. This methodology is well suited for safety testing and can be used to estimate efficacy and dosing of drug candidates prior to clinical studies.

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