Milena Bellin, PhD (Short CV)
University of Padova and Veneto Institute of Molecular medicine (IT)
& Leiden University Medical Center (NL)
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from patients are a precious tool to study human cardiac disease. We recently developed three-dimensional multi-cellular cardiac organoids combining hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, and cardiac endothelial cells. We demonstrate that, under these culture conditions, hiPSC-cardiomyocytes mature to post-natal levels at structural, functional, electrical, and metabolic level. Using patient-derived hiPSCs, we show that cardiac fibroblasts can be active contributors to arrhythmia and that mature hiPSC-cardiomyocytes express post-natal isoforms of cardiac ion channels, revealing mutation effects in heart disease. Finally, we demonstrate that the cardiac organoids capture cardio-toxic effects of anti-cancer drugs. We will discuss directions and challenges in the field.