Background: Cellular transplantation has emerged as promising approach for treating cardiac diseases. However, a poor engraftment rate limits our understanding on how trans-planted cardiomyocytes contribute to cardiac function in the recipient’s heart. Methods: The CRISPR/Cas9 technique was employed for stable and constitutive gene expression in human-induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). Myocardial infarction was induced in adult immunodeficient mice, followed by intramyocardial injection of hiPSC-CMs ex-pressing either CCND2/channelrhodopsin 2 (hiPSC-CCND2OE/ChR2OECMs) or CCND2/luciferase (hiPSC-CCND2OE/LuciOECMs). Six months later, hemodynamics and intramural electrocardiogram were recorded upon blue light illuminations in anesthetized, open-chest mice. Results: Blue light resets automaticity of spontaneously beating hiPSC-CCND2OE/ChR2OECMs in culture, but not that of hiPSC-CCND2OE/LuciOECMs. Response to blue light was also observed in mice carrying large (>106 cells) intracardiac grafts of hiPSC-CCND2OE/ChR2OECM but not in mice carrying hiPSC-CCND2OE/LuciOECMs. The former exhibited single premature ventricular contractions upon light illumination or ventricular quadrigeminy upon second-long illuminations. At the onset of premature ventricular contractions, maximal systolic ventricular pressure decreased while ventricular volume rose concomitantly. Light-induced changes reversed upon resumption of sinus rhythm. Conclusions: We established an in vivo model for optogenetic-based modulation of the excitability of donor car-diomyocytes in a functional, reversible, and localized manner. This approach holds unique value for studying electromechanical coupling and molecular interactions between donor cardiomyocytes and recipient hearts in live animals.
- Cell therapy
- Heart failure
- Stem cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)