Differentiation of cardiomyocytes and generation of human engineered heart tissue

Nat Protoc. 2017 Jun;12(6):1177-1197. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.033. Epub 2017 May 11.


Since the advent of the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), numerous protocols have been developed to differentiate hiPSCs into cardiomyocytes and then subsequently assess their ability to recapitulate the properties of adult human cardiomyocytes. However, hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) are often assessed in single-cell assays. A shortcoming of these assays is the limited ability to characterize the physiological parameters of cardiomyocytes, such as contractile force, due to random orientations. This protocol describes the differentiation of cardiomyocytes from hiPSCs, which occurs within 14 d. After casting, cardiomyocytes undergo 3D assembly. This produces fibrin-based engineered heart tissues (EHTs)-in a strip format-that generate force under auxotonic stretch conditions. 10-15 d after casting, the EHTs can be used for contractility measurements. This protocol describes parallel expansion of hiPSCs; standardized generation of defined embryoid bodies, growth factor and small-molecule-based cardiac differentiation; and standardized generation of EHTs. To carry out the protocol, experience in advanced cell culture techniques is required.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*