Andersen-Tawil syndrome (ATS) is a rare inherited channelopathy. The cardiac phenotype in ATS is typified by a prominent U wave and ventricular arrhythmia. An effective treatment for this disease remains to be established. We reprogrammed somatic cells from three ATS patients to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) were used to record extracellular electrograms of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, revealing strong arrhythmic events in the ATS-iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Ca2+ imaging of cells loaded with the Ca2+ indicator Fluo-4 enabled us to examine intracellular Ca2+ handling properties, and we found a significantly higher incidence of irregular Ca2+ release in the ATS-iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes than in control-iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Drug testing using ATS-iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes further revealed that antiarrhythmic agent, flecainide, but not the sodium channel blocker, pilsicainide, significantly suppressed these irregular Ca2+ release and arrhythmic events, suggesting that flecainide's effect in these cardiac cells was not via sodium channels blocking. A reverse-mode Na+/Ca2+exchanger (NCX) inhibitor, KB-R7943, was also found to suppress the irregular Ca2+ release, and whole-cell voltage clamping of isolated guinea-pig cardiac ventricular myocytes confirmed that flecainide could directly affect the NCX current (INCX). ATS-iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes recapitulate abnormal electrophysiological phenotypes and flecainide suppresses the arrhythmic events through the modulation of INCX.
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