Bachelor of Science, Unlisted School (2006)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Utah (2014)
Master of Science, Manipal University (2008)
Joseph Wu, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Life threatening ventricular arrhythmias leading to sudden cardiac death are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In the absence of structural heart disease, these arrhythmias, especially in the younger population, are often an outcome of genetic defects in specialized membrane proteins called ion channels. In the heart, exceptionally well-orchestrated activity of a diversity of ion channels mediates the cardiac action potential. Alterations in either the function or expression of these channels can disrupt the configuration of the action potential, leading to abnormal electrical activity of the heart that can sometimes initiate an arrhythmia. Understanding the pathophysiology of inherited arrhythmias can be challenging because of the complexity of the disorder and lack of appropriate cellular and in vivo models. Recent advances in human induced pluripotent stem cell technology have provided remarkable progress in comprehending the underlying mechanisms of ion channel disorders or channelopathies by modeling these complex arrhythmia syndromes in vitro in a dish. To fully realize the potential of induced pluripotent stem cells in elucidating the mechanistic basis and complex pathophysiology of channelopathies, it is crucial to have a basic knowledge of cardiac myocyte electrophysiology. In this review, we will discuss the role of the various ion channels in cardiac electrophysiology and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of arrhythmias, highlighting the promise of human induced pluripotent stem cell-cardiomyocytes as a model for investigating inherited arrhythmia syndromes and testing antiarrhythmic strategies. Overall, this review aims to provide a basic understanding of the electrical activity of the heart and related channelopathies, especially to clinicians or research scientists in the cardiovascular field with limited electrophysiology background.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.311209
View details for PubMedID 29976690
BACKGROUND: The long QT syndrome (LQTS) is an arrhythmogenic disorder of QT interval prolongation that predisposes patients to life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias such as Torsades de pointes and sudden cardiac death. Clinical genetic testing has emerged as the standard of care to identify genetic variants in patients suspected of having LQTS. However, these results are often confounded by the discovery of variants of uncertain significance (VUS), for which there is insufficient evidence of pathogenicity.OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that genome editing of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be a valuable approach to delineate the pathogenicity of VUS in cardiac channelopathy.METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from a carrier with a novel missense variant (T983I) in the KCNH2 (LQT2) gene and an unrelated healthy control subject. iPSCs were generated using an integration-free Sendai virus and differentiated to iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs).RESULTS: Whole-cell patch clamp recordings revealed significant prolongation of the action potential duration (APD) and reduced rapidly activating delayed rectifier K+ current (IKr) density in VUS iPSC-CMs compared with healthy control iPSC-CMs. ICA-105574, a potent IKr activator, enhanced IKr magnitude and restored normal action potential duration in VUS iPSC-CMs. Notably, VUS iPSC-CMs exhibited greater propensity to proarrhythmia than healthy control cells in response to high-risk torsadogenic drugs (dofetilide, ibutilide, and azimilide), suggesting a compromised repolarization reserve. Finally, the selective correction of the causal variant in iPSC-CMs using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing (isogenic control) normalized the aberrant cellular phenotype, whereas the introduction of the homozygous variant in healthy control cells recapitulated hallmark features of the LQTS disorder.CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the KCNH2T983I VUS may be classified as potentially pathogenic.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.04.041
View details for PubMedID 29957233
Brugada syndrome (BrS), a disorder associated with characteristic electrocardiogram precordial ST-segment elevation, predisposes afflicted patients to ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death. Despite marked achievements in outlining the organ level pathophysiology of the disorder, the understanding of human cellular phenotype has lagged due to a lack of adequate human cellular models of the disorder.The objective of this study was to examine single cell mechanism of Brugada syndrome using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs).This study recruited 2 patients with type 1 BrS carrying 2 different sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 5 variants as well as 2 healthy control subjects. We generated iPSCs from their skin fibroblasts by using integration-free Sendai virus. We used directed differentiation to create purified populations of iPSC-CMs.BrS iPSC-CMs showed reductions in inward sodium current density and reduced maximal upstroke velocity of action potential compared with healthy control iPSC-CMs. Furthermore, BrS iPSC-CMs demonstrated increased burden of triggered activity, abnormal calcium (Ca(2+)) transients, and beating interval variation. Correction of the causative variant by genome editing was performed, and resultant iPSC-CMs showed resolution of triggered activity and abnormal Ca(2+) transients. Gene expression profiling of iPSC-CMs showed clustering of BrS compared with control subjects. Furthermore, BrS iPSC-CM gene expression correlated with gene expression from BrS human cardiac tissue gene expression.Patient-specific iPSC-CMs were able to recapitulate single-cell phenotype features of BrS, including blunted inward sodium current, increased triggered activity, and abnormal Ca(2+) handling. This novel human cellular model creates future opportunities to further elucidate the cellular disease mechanism and identify novel therapeutic targets.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.07.779
View details for PubMedID 27810048