Professional Education

  • Master of Science, SUNY Health Science Center - Syracuse (2008)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2013)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • TGF-beta 1, Released by Myofibroblasts, Differentially Regulates Transcription and Function of Sodium and Potassium Channels in Adult Rat Ventricular Myocytes PLOS ONE Kaur, K., Zarzoso, M., Ponce-Balbuena, D., Guerrero-Serna, G., Hou, L., Musa, H., Jalife, J. 2013; 8 (2)


    Cardiac injury promotes fibroblasts activation and differentiation into myofibroblasts, which are hypersecretory of multiple cytokines. It is unknown whether any of such cytokines are involved in the electrophysiological remodeling of adult cardiomyocytes. We cultured adult cardiomyocytes for 3 days in cardiac fibroblast conditioned medium (FCM) from adult rats. In whole-cell voltage-clamp experiments, FCM-treated myocytes had 41% more peak inward sodium current (I(Na)) density at -40 mV than myocytes in control medium (p<0.01). In contrast, peak transient outward current (I(to)) was decreased by ?55% at 60 mV (p<0.001). Protein analysis of FCM demonstrated that the concentration of TGF-?1 was >3 fold greater in FCM than control, which suggested that FCM effects could be mediated by TGF-?1. This was confirmed by pre-treatment with TGF-?1 neutralizing antibody, which abolished the FCM-induced changes in both I(Na) and I(to). In current-clamp experiments TGF-?1 (10 ng/ml) prolonged the action potential duration at 30, 50, and 90 repolarization (p<0.05); at 50 ng/ml it gave rise to early afterdepolarizations. In voltage-clamp experiments, TGF-?1 increased I(Na) density in a dose-dependent manner without affecting voltage dependence of activation or inactivation. I(Na) density was -36.25±2.8 pA/pF in control, -59.17±6.2 pA/pF at 0.1 ng/ml (p<0.01), and -58.22±6.6 pA/pF at 1 ng/ml (p<0.01). In sharp contrast, I(to) density decreased from 22.2±1.2 pA/pF to 12.7±0.98 pA/pF (p<0.001) at 10 ng/ml. At 1 ng/ml TGF-?1 significantly increased SCN5A (Na(V)1.5) (+73%; p<0.01), while reducing KCNIP2 (Kchip2; -77%; p<0.01) and KCND2 (K(V)4.2; -50% p<0.05) mRNA levels. Further, the TGF-?1-induced increase in I(Na) was mediated through activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway via phosphorylation of FOXO1 (a negative regulator of SCN5A). TGF-?1 released by myofibroblasts differentially regulates transcription and function of the main cardiac sodium channel and of the channel responsible for the transient outward current. The results provide new mechanistic insight into the electrical remodeling associated with myocardial injury.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0055391

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314692800027

    View details for PubMedID 23393573

  • Genetically Engineered Excitable Cardiac Myofibroblasts Coupled to Cardiomyocytes Rescue Normal Propagation and Reduce Arrhythmia Complexity in Heterocellular Monolayers PLOS ONE Hou, L., Hu, B., Jalife, J. 2013; 8 (2)


    The use of genetic engineering of unexcitable cells to enable expression of gap junctions and inward rectifier potassium channels has suggested that cell therapies aimed at establishing electrical coupling of unexcitable donor cells to host cardiomyocytes may be arrhythmogenic. Whether similar considerations apply when the donor cells are electrically excitable has not been investigated. Here we tested the hypothesis that adenoviral transfer of genes coding Kir2.1 (I(K1)), Na(V)1.5 (I(Na)) and connexin-43 (Cx43) proteins into neonatal rat ventricular myofibroblasts (NRVF) will convert them into fully excitable cells, rescue rapid conduction velocity (CV) and reduce the incidence of complex reentry arrhythmias in an in vitro model.We used adenoviral (Ad-) constructs encoding Kir2.1, Na(V)1.5 and Cx43 in NRVF. In single NRVF, Ad-Kir2.1 or Ad-Na(V)1.5 infection enabled us to regulate the densities of I(K1) and I(Na), respectively. At varying MOI ratios of 10/10, 5/10 and 5/20, NRVF co-infected with Ad-Kir2.1+ Na(V)1.5 were hyperpolarized and generated action potentials (APs) with upstroke velocities >100 V/s. However, when forming monolayers only the addition of Ad-Cx43 made the excitable NRVF capable of conducting electrical impulses (CV?=?20.71±0.79 cm/s). When genetically engineered excitable NRVF overexpressing Kir2.1, Na(V)1.5 and Cx43 were used to replace normal NRVF in heterocellular monolayers that included neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM), CV was significantly increased (27.59±0.76 cm/s vs. 21.18±0.65 cm/s, p<0.05), reaching values similar to those of pure myocytes monolayers (27.27±0.72 cm/s). Moreover, during reentry, propagation was faster and more organized, with a significantly lower number of wavebreaks in heterocellular monolayers formed by excitable compared with unexcitable NRVF.Viral transfer of genes coding Kir2.1, Na(V)1.5 and Cx43 to cardiac myofibroblasts endows them with the ability to generate and propagate APs. The results provide proof of concept that cell therapies with excitable donor cells increase safety and reduce arrhythmogenic potential.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0055400

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314692800028

    View details for PubMedID 23393574

  • Extracellular Matrix Promotes Highly Efficient Cardiac Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells The Matrix Sandwich Method CIRCULATION RESEARCH Zhang, J., Klos, M., Wilson, G. F., Herman, A. M., Lian, X., Raval, K. K., Barron, M. R., Hou, L., Soerens, A. G., Yu, J., Palecek, S. P., Lyons, G. E., Thomson, J. A., Herron, T. J., Jalife, J., Kamp, T. J. 2012; 111 (9): 1125-U78


    Cardiomyocytes (CMs) differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are increasingly being used for cardiovascular research, including disease modeling, and hold promise for clinical applications. Current cardiac differentiation protocols exhibit variable success across different PSC lines and are primarily based on the application of growth factors. However, extracellular matrix is also fundamentally involved in cardiac development from the earliest morphogenetic events, such as gastrulation.We sought to develop a more effective protocol for cardiac differentiation of human PSCs by using extracellular matrix in combination with growth factors known to promote cardiogenesis.PSCs were cultured as monolayers on Matrigel, an extracellular matrix preparation, and subsequently overlayed with Matrigel. The matrix sandwich promoted an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition as in gastrulation with the generation of N-cadherin-positive mesenchymal cells. Combining the matrix sandwich with sequential application of growth factors (Activin A, bone morphogenetic protein 4, and basic fibroblast growth factor) generated CMs with high purity (up to 98%) and yield (up to 11 CMs/input PSC) from multiple PSC lines. The resulting CMs progressively matured over 30 days in culture based on myofilament expression pattern and mitotic activity. Action potentials typical of embryonic nodal, atrial, and ventricular CMs were observed, and monolayers of electrically coupled CMs modeled cardiac tissue and basic arrhythmia mechanisms.Dynamic extracellular matrix application promoted epithelial-mesenchymal transition of human PSCs and complemented growth factor signaling to enable robust cardiac differentiation.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.112.273144

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309961700007

    View details for PubMedID 22912385

  • Dynamic reciprocity of sodium and potassium channel expression in a macromolecular complex controls cardiac excitability and arrhythmia PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Milstein, M. L., Musa, H., Balbuena, D. P., Anumonwo, J. M., Auerbach, D. S., Furspan, P. B., Hou, L., Hu, B., Schumacher, S. M., Vaidyanathan, R., Martens, J. R., Jalife, J. 2012; 109 (31): E2134-E2143


    The cardiac electrical impulse depends on an orchestrated interplay of transmembrane ionic currents in myocardial cells. Two critical ionic current mechanisms are the inwardly rectifying potassium current (I(K1)), which is important for maintenance of the cell resting membrane potential, and the sodium current (I(Na)), which provides a rapid depolarizing current during the upstroke of the action potential. By controlling the resting membrane potential, I(K1) modifies sodium channel availability and therefore, cell excitability, action potential duration, and velocity of impulse propagation. Additionally, I(K1)-I(Na) interactions are key determinants of electrical rotor frequency responsible for abnormal, often lethal, cardiac reentrant activity. Here, we have used a multidisciplinary approach based on molecular and biochemical techniques, acute gene transfer or silencing, and electrophysiology to show that I(K1)-I(Na) interactions involve a reciprocal modulation of expression of their respective channel proteins (Kir2.1 and Na(V)1.5) within a macromolecular complex. Thus, an increase in functional expression of one channel reciprocally modulates the other to enhance cardiac excitability. The modulation is model-independent; it is demonstrable in myocytes isolated from mouse and rat hearts and with transgenic and adenoviral-mediated overexpression/silencing. We also show that the post synaptic density, discs large, and zonula occludens-1 (PDZ) domain protein SAP97 is a component of this macromolecular complex. We show that the interplay between Na(v)1.5 and Kir2.1 has electrophysiological consequences on the myocardium and that SAP97 may affect the integrity of this complex or the nature of Na(v)1.5-Kir2.1 interactions. The reciprocal modulation between Na(v)1.5 and Kir2.1 and the respective ionic currents should be important in the ability of the heart to undergo self-sustaining cardiac rhythm disturbances.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1109370109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307538200008

    View details for PubMedID 22509027

  • Simultaneous Voltage and Calcium Mapping of Genetically Purified Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiac Myocyte Monolayers CIRCULATION RESEARCH Lee, P., Klos, M., Bollensdorff, C., Hou, L., Ewart, P., Kamp, T. J., Zhang, J., Bizy, A., Guerrero-Serna, G., Kohl, P., Jalife, J., Herron, T. J. 2012; 110 (12): 1556-1563


    Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) offer a powerful in vitro tool to investigate disease mechanisms and to perform patient-specific drug screening. To date, electrophysiological analysis of iPSC-CMs has been limited to single-cell recordings or low-resolution microelectrode array mapping of small cardiomyocyte aggregates. New methods of generating and optically mapping impulse propagation of large human iPSC-CM cardiac monolayers are needed.Our first aim was to develop an imaging platform with versatility for multiparameter electrophysiological mapping of cardiac preparations, including human iPSC-CM monolayers. Our second aim was to create large electrically coupled human iPSC-CM monolayers for simultaneous action potential and calcium wave propagation measurements.A fluorescence imaging platform based on electronically controlled light-emitting diode illumination, a multiband emission filter, and single camera sensor was developed and utilized to monitor simultaneously action potential and intracellular calcium wave propagation in cardiac preparations. Multiple, large-diameter (?1 cm), electrically coupled human cardiac monolayers were then generated that propagated action potentials and calcium waves at velocities similar to those commonly observed in rodent cardiac monolayers.The multiparametric imaging system presented here offers a scalable enabling technology to measure simultaneously action potential and intracellular calcium wave amplitude and dynamics of cardiac monolayers. The advent of large-scale production of human iPSC-CMs makes it possible to now generate sufficient numbers of uniform cardiac monolayers that can be utilized for the study of arrhythmia mechanisms and offers advantages over commonly used rodent models.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.262535

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305244100006

    View details for PubMedID 22570367

  • A Major Role for hERG in Determining Frequency of Reentry in Neonatal Rat Ventricular Myocyte Monolayer CIRCULATION RESEARCH Hou, L., Deo, M., Furspan, P., Pandit, S. V., Mironov, S., Auerbach, D. S., Gong, Q., Zhou, Z., Berenfeld, O., Jalife, J. 2010; 107 (12): 1503-?


    the rapid delayed rectifier potassium current, I(Kr), which flows through the human ether-a-go-go-related (hERG) channel, is a major determinant of the shape and duration of the human cardiac action potential (APD). However, it is unknown whether the time dependency of I(Kr) enables it to control APD, conduction velocity (CV), and wavelength (WL) at the exceedingly high activation frequencies that are relevant to cardiac reentry and test the hypothesis that upregulation of hERG increases functional reentry frequency and contributes to its stability.using optical mapping, we investigated the effects of I(Kr) upregulation on reentry frequency, APD, CV, and WL in neonatal rat ventricular myocyte (NRVM) monolayers infected with GFP (control), hERG (I(Kr)), or dominant negative mutant hERG G628S. Reentry frequency was higher in the I(Kr)-infected monolayers (21.12 ± 0.8 Hz; n=43 versus 9.21 ± 0.58 Hz; n=16; P<0.001) but slightly reduced in G628S-infected monolayers. APD(80) in the I(Kr)-infected monolayers was shorter (>50%) than control during pacing at 1 to 5 Hz. CV was similar in both groups at low frequency pacing. In contrast, during high-frequency reentry, the CV measured at varying distances from the center of rotation was significantly faster in I(Kr)-infected monolayers than controls. Simulations using a modified NRVM model predicted that rotor acceleration was attributable, in part, to a transient hyperpolarization immediately following the AP. The transient hyperpolarization was confirmed experimentally.hERG overexpression dramatically accelerates reentry frequency in NRVM monolayers. Both APD and WL shortening, together with transient hyperpolarization, underlies the increased rotor frequency and stability.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.232470

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285143000013

    View details for PubMedID 20947828

  • Mechanisms of stretch-induced atrial fibrillation in the presence and the absence of adrenocholinergic stimulation: Interplay between rotors and focal discharges HEART RHYTHM Yamazaki, M., Vaquero, L. M., Hou, L., Campbell, K., Zlochiver, S., Klos, M., Mironov, S., Berenfeld, O., Honjo, H., Kodama, I., Jalife, J., Kalifa, J. 2009; 6 (7): 1009-1017


    Both atrial stretch and combined adrenocholinergic stimulation (ACS) have been shown to favor initiation and maintenance of atrial fibrillation (AF). Their respective contributions to the electrophysiological mechanism remains, however, incompletely understood.This study endeavored to determine the mechanism of maintenance of stretch-related AF (SRAF) in the presence and absence of ACS and to assess how focal discharges interact with rotors to modify the level of complexity in the activation patterns to perpetuate AF.Video imaging of AF dynamics was carried out using a SRAF model in isolated sheep hearts (n = 24). Pharmacological approaches were used to (1) mimic ACS with acetylcholine (1 microM) plus isoproterenol (0.03 microM), and (2) abolish triggered activity, in response to sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release, with caffeine (5 mM, CA) or ryanodine (10 to 40 microM, RYA).In the absence of ACS, on perfusion of CA or RYA, focal discharges were abolished and SRAF was terminated in most of the cases (10 of 13 experiments). In the presence of ACS, multiple drifting rotors as well as a large number of focal discharges were identified and only 1 of 11 AF episodes was terminated.In the absence of ACS, SRAF is maintained by high-frequency focal discharges that generate fibrillatory conduction and wave breaks. In the presence of ACS, SRAF dynamics is characterized by multiple high frequency rotors that are rendered unstable by spatially distributed focal discharges.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.hrthm.2009.03.029

    View details for Web of Science ID 000267791900015

    View details for PubMedID 19560089