Immaturity of human stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes in culture: fatal flaw or soluble problem?

Stem Cells Dev. 2015 May 1;24(9):1035-52. doi: 10.1089/scd.2014.0533. Epub 2015 Feb 25.


Cardiomyocytes from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-CMs) are increasingly used to model cardiac disease, test drug efficacy and for safety pharmacology. Nevertheless, a major hurdle to more extensive use is their immaturity and similarity to fetal rather than adult cardiomyocytes. Here, we provide an overview of the strategies currently being used to increase maturation in culture, which include prolongation of time in culture, exposure to electrical stimulation, application of mechanical strain, growth in three-dimensional tissue configuration, addition of non-cardiomyocytes, use of hormones and small molecules, and alteration of the extracellular environment. By comparing the outcomes of these studies, we identify the approaches most likely to improve functional maturation of hPSC-CMs in terms of their electrophysiology and excitation-contraction coupling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Primary Cell Culture / methods*