Investigation of human iPSC-derived cardiac myocyte functional maturation by single cell traction force microscopy

Matthew Wheelwright, Zaw Win, Jennifer L. Mikkila, Kamilah Y. Amen, Patrick W Alford, Joseph M Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Recent advances have made it possible to readily derive cardiac myocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-CMs). HiPSC-CMs represent a valuable new experimental model for studying human cardiac muscle physiology and disease. Many laboratories have devoted substantial effort to examining the functional properties of isolated hiPSCCMs, but to date, force production has not been adequately characterized. Here, we utilized traction force microscopy (TFM) with micro-patterning cell printing to investigate the maximum force production of isolated single hiPSC-CMs under varied culture and assay conditions. We examined the role of length of differentiation in culture and the effects of varied extracellular calcium concentration in the culture media on the maturation of hiPSC-CMs. Results show that hiPSC-CMs developing in culture for two weeks produced significantly less force than cells cultured from one to three months, with hiPSC-CMs cultured for three months resembling the cell morphology and function of neonatal rat ventricular myocytes in terms of size, dimensions, and force production. Furthermore, hiPSC-CMs cultured long term in conditions of physiologic calcium concentrations were larger and produced more force than hiPSC-CMs cultured in standard media with sub-physiological calcium. We also examined relationships between cell morphology, substrate stiffness and force production. Results showed a significant relationship between cell area and force. Implementing directed modifications of substrate stiffness, by varying stiffness from embryonic-like to adult myocardium-like, hiPSC-CMs produced maximal forces on substrates with a lower modulus and significantly less force when assayed on increasingly stiff adult myocardiumlike substrates. Calculated strain energy measurements paralleled these findings. Collectively, these findings further establish single cell TFM as a valuable approach to illuminate the quantitative physiological maturation of force in hiPSC-CMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0194909
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from NIH (U01HL100407 to JMM; R01HL132874), Summers' Wish Pediatric Cardiology Innovators Fund to JMM, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Award (RMM 2016 GSCH 002R to MW), the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Dr. Warren J. Warwick and Henrietta Holm Warwick Fellowship to MW. The funders had no role instudy design, data collection and analysis, decision

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wheelwright et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of human iPSC-derived cardiac myocyte functional maturation by single cell traction force microscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this