Spheroids of cardiomyocytes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells improve recovery from myocardial injury in mice

Saidulu Mattapally, Wuqiang Zhu, Vladimir G. Fast, Ling Gao, Chelsea Worley, Ramaswamy Kannappan, Anton V. Borovjagin, Jianyi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The microenvironment of native heart tissue may be better replicated when cardiomyocytes are cultured in three-dimensional clusters (i.e., spher-oids) than in monolayers or as individual cells. Thus, we differentiated human cardiac lineage-induced pluripotent stem cells in cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) and allowed them to form spheroids and spheroid fusions that were characterized in vitro and evaluated in mice after experimentally induced myocardial infarction (MI). Synchronized contractions were observed within 24 h of spheroid formation, and optical mapping experiments confirmed the presence of both Ca2+ transients and propagating action potentials. In spheroid fusions, the intraspheroid conduction velocity was 7.0 ± 3.8 cm/s on days 1–2 after formation, whereas the conduction velocity between spheroids increased significantly (P = 0.003) from 0.8 ± 1.1 cm/s on days 1–2 to 3.3 ± 1.4 cm/s on day 7. For the murine MI model, five-spheroid fusions (200,000 hiPSC-CMs/spheroid) were embedded in a fibrin patch and the patch was transplanted over the site of infarction. Later (4 wk), echocardiographic measurements of left ventricular ejection fraction and fractional shortening were significantly greater in patch-treated animals than in animals that recovered without the patch, and the engraftment rate was 25.6% or 30% when evaluated histologically or via bioluminescence imaging, respectively. The exosomes released from the spheroid patch seemed to increase cardiac function. In conclusion, our results established the feasibility of using hiPSC-CM spheroids and spheroid fusions for cardiac tissue engineering, and, when fibrin patches containing hiPSC-CM spheroid fusions were evaluated in a murine MI model, the engraftment rate was much higher than the rates we have achieved via the direct intramyocardial injection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H327-H339
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Heart
  • Myocyte
  • Spheroid
  • Stem cell
  • Three-dimensional culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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