Human-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology has taken the center stage in regenerative medicine research thanks to its enormous potential for personalized treatment and drug screening applications. Reprogramming somatic cells to generate iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) is not only an easier and faster way to obtain stem cells, but is also devoid of the ethical concerns associated with traditional stem cell production methods.
Differentiation of iPSCs into cardiomyocytes is of particular interest in the study and therapy of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiomyocytes can be employed for drug screening as well as for regenerating patients’ cardiac tissue. The fundamental prerequisite is obtaining functionally mature cardiomyocytes. Incorporation of soluble factors, chemicals, and the use of 3-dimensional cultures have contributed to improved cardiomyocyte differentiation. However, these techniques still generate only partially mature cardiomyocytes. Recent studies have demonstrated that mechanical and electrical stimulation can improve the contractility and morphology of cardiomyocytes. D, Cortes et al. developed a device for electrical and mechanical stimulation of human-induced pluripotent stem cells in 6-well plates. The device, “3D printed with autoclavable, FDA-approved materials, was assembled onto a custom-made motor-driven apparatus that created cyclic mechanical stress in combination with electrical pacing”.
Cells are cultured in CultureWell™ Silicone Sheet Material assembled at the bottom of a 6-well- plate and stimulated with a vacuum-driven system to reproduce physiological mechanical stress as shown in the video. The stimulated cells showed increased expression of markers indicative of cardiomyocytes maturation and showed the potential to be applied to tissue regeneration and disease modeling.
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Cortes D, McTiernan CD, Ruel M, et al. BEaTS-α an open access 3D printed device for in vitro electromechanical stimulation of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):11274. Published 2020 Jul 9. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-67169-1