iBET

iBET's published paper among the most highly read articles for Scientific Reports journal

04.07.2018

In 2017, iBET's scientists from the Animal Cell Technology Unit published a paper in Scientific Reports journal, showing a new method for maturation of cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells with valuable contribution to the cardiac regenerative medicine field. Recently, this work was selected as one of the top 100 read papers in Cell Biology for Scientific Reports in 2017.

Scientific Reports published nearly 1,000 cell biology papers in 2017, and so "a position in the top 100 most highly read articles is an extraordinary achievement", as the journal communication letter says, meaning that iBET's science is of real value to the research community.

Below, we remember the study described in the distinguished paper.

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NEW METHOD FOR MATURATION OF CARDIOMYOCYTES DERIVED FROM HUMAN PLURIPOTENT STEM CELLS

In vitro differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into cardiomyocytes (CMs) is a crucial process for the application of these cells in cell therapy and drug discovery. Nevertheless, despite the remarkable effort over the last decade towards the optimization of protocols for cardiac differentiation, CMs generated in research labs are still immature, closely reminiscent of fetal cardiomyocytes with regards to structure, metabolism and function. Hence, the need for methods that generate cells as similar as possible to adult cardiomyocytes is of utmost urgency.

Tackling the challenge of developing methods to produce adult-like cardiomyocytes from human pluripotent stem cells, iBET's researchers from the Animal Cell Technology Unit have successfully developed a new strategy for improved cardiac maturation that relies in the already known metabolic changes occurring during the transition from the embryonic to adult heart thus mimicking in vitro the natural development of the heart.

The research team modulated the composition of the culture medium of CMs, to mimic the metabolic substrate usage by human adult CMs in vivo and, by integrating molecular and metabolic profiling with structural and functional characterization, established a robust cardiac maturation protocol that yields a pure population of more mature and functionally developed cardiomyocytes than current models.

This strategy holds technical and economic advantages over the existing protocols due to its scalability, simplicity and ease of application, as it does not require specific equipment or addition of expensive factors/chemicals. The development of this protocol is an extremely valuable contribution to the cardiac regenerative medicine field, as it will allow the generation of cardiac cells that closely resemble adult cardiomyocytes in a more physiological model that will boost their application not only in cell therapy but also in drug discovery and cardiac disease modeling.

Original Paper

Correia C., Koshkin A., Duarte P., Hu D., Teixeira A., Domian I., Serra M., Alves PM. (2017). Distinct carbon sources affect structural and functional maturation of cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells. Scientific Reports 7(1):8590

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08713-4