Large-Scale Simulation of the Phenotypical Variability Induced by Loss-of-Function Long QT Mutations in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Cardiomyocytes

Michelangelo Paci, Simona Casini, Milena Bellin, Jari Hyttinen, Stefano Severi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Loss-of-function long QT (LQT) mutations inducing LQT1 and LQT2 syndromes have been successfully translated to human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) used as disease-specific models. However, their in vitro investigation mainly relies on experiments using small numbers of cells. This is especially critical when working with cells as heterogeneous as hiPSC-CMs. We aim (i) to investigate in silico the ionic mechanisms underlying LQT1 and LQT2 hiPSC-CM phenotypic variability, and (ii) to enable massive in silico drug tests on mutant hiPSC-CMs. We combined (i) data of control and mutant slow and rapid delayed rectifying K⁺ currents, IKr and IKs respectively, (ii) a recent in silico hiPSC-CM model, and (iii) the population of models paradigm to generate control and mutant populations for LQT1 and LQT2 cardiomyocytes. Our four populations contain from 1008 to 3584 models. In line with the experimental in vitro data, mutant in silico hiPSC-CMs showed prolonged action potential (AP) duration (LQT1: +14%, LQT2: +39%) and large electrophysiological variability. Finally, the mutant populations were split into normal-like hiPSC-CMs (with action potential duration similar to control) and at risk hiPSC-CMs (with clearly prolonged action potential duration). At risk mutant hiPSC-CMs carried higher expression of L-type Ca2+, lower expression of IKr and increased sensitivity to quinidine as compared to mutant normal-like hiPSC-CMs, resulting in AP abnormalities. In conclusion, we were able to reproduce the two most common LQT syndromes with large-scale simulations, which enable investigating biophysical mechanisms difficult to assess in vitro, e.g., how variations of ion current expressions in a physiological range can impact on AP properties of mutant hiPSC-CMs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Cite this