Generation of functional cardiomyocytes from the synoviocytes of patients with rheumatoid arthritis via induced pluripotent stem cells


  • J. Lee
  • S.M. Jung
  • A.D. Ebert
  • H. Wu
  • S. Diecke
  • Y. Kim
  • H. Yi
  • S.H. Park
  • J.H. Ju


  • Scientific Reports


  • Sci Rep 6: 32669


  • Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. This study aimed to generate and characterise cardiomyocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of RA patients. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA) were successfully reprogrammed into RA-iPSCs and OA-iPSCs, respectively. The pluripotency of iPSCs was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence staining. Established iPSCs were differentiated into cardiomyocytes using a small molecule-based monolayer differentiation protocol. Within 12 days of cardiac differentiation from patient-specific and control-iPSCs, spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) were observed. All iPSC-CMs exhibited a reliable sarcomeric structure stained with antibodies against cardiac markers and similar expression profiles of cardiac-specific genes. Intracellular calcium signalling was recorded to compare calcium-handling properties among cardiomyocytes differentiated from the three groups of iPSCs. RA-iPSC-CMs had a lower amplitude and a shorter duration of calcium transients than the control groups. Peak tangential stress and the maximum contractile rate were also decreased in RA-iPSC-CMs, suggesting that contractility was reduced. This study demonstrates the successful generation of functional cardiomyocytes from pathogenic synovial cells in RA patients through iPSC reprogramming. Research using RA-iPSC-CMs might provide an opportunity to investigate the pathophysiology of cardiac involvement in RA.