Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CM) have been widely proposed as in vitro models of myocardial physiology and disease. A significant obstacle, however, is their immature phenotype. We hypothesised that Ca(2+) cycling of iPSC-CM is influenced by culture conditions and can be manipulated to obtain a more mature cellular behaviour. To test this hypothesis we seeded iPSC-CM onto fibronectin coated microgrooved polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) scaffolds fabricated using photolithography, or onto unstructured PDMS membrane. After two weeks in culture, the structure and function of iPSC-CM were studied. PDMS microgrooved culture substrates brought about cellular alignment (p < 0.0001) and more organised sarcomere. The Ca(2+) cycling properties of iPSC-CM cultured on these substrates were significantly altered with a shorter time to peak amplitude (p = 0.0002 at 1 Hz), and more organised sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) release in response to caffeine (p < 0.0001), suggesting improved SR Ca(2+) cycling. These changes were not associated with modifications in gene expression. Whilst structured tissue culture may make iPSC-CM more representative of adult myocardium, further construct development and characterisation is required to optimise iPSC-CM as a model of adult myocardium.
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