Development of a 3-dimensional model to study right heart dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension: First observations

Aida Llucià-Valldeperas, Rowan Smal, Fjodor T. Bekedam, Margaux Cé, Xiaoke Pan, Xue D. Manz, Paul J.M. Wijnker, Anton Vonk-Noordegraaf, Harm J. Bogaard, Marie Jose Goumans, Frances S. de Man*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients eventually die of right heart failure (RHF). Currently, there is no suitable pre-clinical model to study PAH. Therefore, we aim to develop a right heart dysfunction (RHD) model using the 3-dimensional engineered heart tissue (EHT) approach and cardiomyocytes derived from patient-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to unravel the mechanisms that determine the fate of a pressure-overloaded right ventricle. iPSCs from PAH and healthy control subjects were differentiated into cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs), incorporated into the EHT, and maintained for 28 days. In comparison with control iPSC-CMs, PAH-derived iPSC-CMs exhibited decreased beating frequency and increased contraction and relaxation times. iPSC-CM alignment within the EHT was observed. PAH-derived EHTs exhibited higher force, and contraction and relaxation times compared with control EHTs. Increased afterload was induced using 2× stiffer posts from day 0. Due to high variability, there were no functional differences between normal and stiffer EHTs, and no differences in the hypertrophic gene expression. In conclusion, under baseline spontaneous conditions, PAH-derived iPSC-CMs and EHTs show prolonged contraction compared with controls, as observed clinically in PAH patients. Further optimization of the hypertrophic model and profound characterization may provide a platform for disease modelling and drug screening.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3595
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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