Human induced pluripotent stem cellderived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) are a powerful platform for uncovering disease mechanisms and assessing drugs for efficacy/toxicity. However, the accuracy with which hiPSC-CMs recapitulate the contractile and remodeling signaling of adult cardiomyocytes is not fully known. We used β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) signaling as a prototype to determine the evolution of signaling component expression and function during hiPSC-CM maturation. In "early" hiPSC-CMs (less than or equal to d 30), β2-ARs are a primary source of cAMP/PKA signaling. With longer culture, β1-AR signaling increases: from 0% of cAMP generation at d 30 to 56.8 ± 6.6% by d 60. PKA signaling shows a similar increase: 15.7 ± 5.2%(d 30), 49.8 ± 0.5%(d 60), and 71.0 ± 6.1% (d 90). cAMP generation increases 9-fold from d 30 to 60, with enhanced coupling to remodeling pathways (e.g., Akt and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type II) and development of caveolin-mediated signaling compartmentalization. By contrast, cardiotoxicity induced by chronic β-AR stimulation, a major component of heart failure, develops much later: 5% cell death at d 30 vs. 55% at d 90. Moreover, β-AR maturation can be accelerated by biomechanical stimulation. The differential maturation of β-AR functional vs. remodeling signaling in hiPSC-CMs has important implications for their use in disease modeling and drug testing. We propose that assessment of signaling be added to the indices of phenotypic maturation of hiPSC-CMs.
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