Assessment of mitophagy in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes

Summary

Defective mitophagy contributes to normal aging and various neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. The newly developed methodologies to visualize and quantify mitophagy allow for additional progress in defining the pathophysiological significance of mitophagy in various model organisms. However, current knowledge regarding mitophagy relevant to human physiology is still limited. Model organisms such as mice might not be optimal models to recapitulate all the key aspects of human disease phenotypes. The development of the human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) may provide an exquisite approach to bridge the gap between animal mitophagy models and human physiology. To explore this premise, we take advantage of the pH-dependent fluorescent mitophagy reporter, mt-Keima, to assess mitophagy in hiPSCs and hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). We demonstrate that mt-Keima expression does not affect mitochondrial function or cardiomyocytes contractility. Comparison of hiPSCs and hiPSC-CMs during different stages of differentiation revealed significant variations in basal mitophagy. In addition, we have employed the mt-Keima hiPSC-CMs to analyze how mitophagy is altered under certain pathological conditions including treating the hiPSC-CMs with doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic drug well known to cause life-threatening cardiotoxicity, and hypoxia that stimulates ischemia injury. We have further developed a chemical screening to identify compounds that modulate mitophagy in hiPSC-CMs. The ability to assess mitophagy in hiPSC-CMs suggests that the mt-Keima hiPSCs should be a valuable resource in determining the role mitophagy plays in human physiology and hiPSC-based disease models. The mt-Keima hiPSCs could prove a tremendous asset in the search for pharmacological interventions that promote mitophagy as a therapeutic target.

Authors Yang M, Fu JD, Zou J, Sridharan D, Zhao MT, Singh H, Krigman J, Khan M, Xin G, Sun N
Journal Autophagy
Publication Date 2022 Feb 27;:1-14
PubMed 35220905
DOI 10.1080/15548627.2022.2037920

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