The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has allowed researchers to generate human cardiomyocytes from patients. Why is this important? Human iPS cells are useful for studying normal and diseased human cardiomyocytes and for discovering new drug therapies to treat cardiovascular disease. Until now, methods for generating cardiomyocytes from human iPS or ES cells were inconsistent and often unreliable. The recent article by Ma et al presents a new method to obtain a large quantity of cultured cardiac myocytes using embryoid body formation and blasticidin selection techniques resulting in more than 98% purity from human iPS cell lines. Associate Editor Junichi Sadoshima talks with authors Craig January (University of Wisconsin – Madison) and Brad Swanson (Cellular Dynamics International), along with leading expert Diego Fraidenraich (University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey), about this groundbreaking research and its many potential applications.
Junyi Ma, Liang Guo, Steve J Fiene, Blake D Anson, James A Thomson, Timothy J. Kamp, Kyle L Kolaja, Bradley J Swanson, and Craig T. January. High Purity Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (hiPSC) Derived Cardiomyocytes: Electrophysiological Properties of Action Potentials and Ionic Currents. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published ahead of print September 2, 2011, doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00694.2011.