Electrophysiological abnormalities in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes generated from Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients

J Cell Mol Med. 2019 Mar;23(3):2125-2135. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.14124. Epub 2019 Jan 8.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked progressive muscle degenerative disease, caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene and resulting in death because of respiratory or cardiac failure. To investigate the cardiac cellular manifestation of DMD, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) from two DMD patients: a male and female manifesting heterozygous carrier. Dystrophin mRNA and protein expression were analysed by qRT-PCR, RNAseq, Western blot and immunofluorescence staining. For comprehensive electrophysiological analysis, current and voltage clamp were used to record transmembrane action potentials and ion currents, respectively. Microelectrode array was used to record extracellular electrograms. X-inactive specific transcript (XIST) and dystrophin expression analyses revealed that female iPSCs underwent X chromosome reactivation (XCR) or erosion of X chromosome inactivation, which was maintained in female iPSC-CMs displaying mixed X chromosome expression of wild type (WT) and mutated alleles. Both DMD female and male iPSC-CMs presented low spontaneous firing rate, arrhythmias and prolonged action potential duration. DMD female iPSC-CMs displayed increased beat rate variability (BRV). DMD male iPSC-CMs manifested decreased If density, and DMD female and male iPSC-CMs showed increased ICa,L density. Our findings demonstrate cellular mechanisms underlying electrophysiological abnormalities and cardiac arrhythmias in DMD.

Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; X chromosome inactivation; arrhythmia; dilated cardiomyopathy; induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / genetics
  • Adult
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Dystrophin / metabolism
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Heterozygote*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / ultrastructure


  • Dystrophin