Studies in hypertension (HTN) pharmacogenomics seek to identify genetic sources of variable antihypertensive drug response. Genetic association studies have detected single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that link to drug responses; however, to understand mechanisms underlying how genetic traits alter drug responses, a biological interface is needed. Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a potential source for studying otherwise inaccessible tissues that may be important to antihypertensive drug response. The present study established multiple iPSC lines from an HTN pharmacogenomics cohort. We demonstrated that established HTN iPSCs can robustly and reproducibly differentiate into functional vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), a cell type most relevant to vasculature tone control. Moreover, a sensitive traction force microscopy assay demonstrated that iPSC-derived VSMCs show a quantitative contractile response on physiological stimulus of endothelin-1. Furthermore, the inflammatory chemokine tumor necrosis factor α induced a typical VSMC response in iPSC-derived VSMCs. These studies pave the way for a large research initiative to decode biological significance of identified SNPs in hypertension pharmacogenomics.
Significance: Treatment of hypertension remains suboptimal, and a pharmacogenomics approach seeks to identify genetic biomarkers that could be used to guide treatment decisions; however, it is important to understand the biological underpinnings of genetic associations. Mouse models do not accurately recapitulate individual patient responses based on their genetics, and hypertension-relevant cells are difficult to obtain from patients. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology provides a great interface to bring patient cells with their genomic data into the laboratory and to study hypertensive responses. As an initial step, the present study established an iPSC bank from patients with primary hypertension and demonstrated an effective and reproducible method of generating functional vascular smooth muscle cells.
Keywords: Hypertension; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Personalized medicine; Vascular smooth muscle cells.