Genetic cardiac diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality. Although animal models have been created to provide some useful insights into the pathogenesis of genetic cardiac diseases, the significant species differences and the lack of genetic information for complex genetic diseases markedly attenuate the application values of such data. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patient-specific specimens and subsequent derivation of cardiomyocytes offer novel avenues to study the mechanisms underlying cardiac diseases, to identify new causative genes, and to provide insights into the disease aetiology. In recent years, the list of human iPSC-based models for genetic cardiac diseases has been expanding rapidly, although there are still remaining concerns on the level of functionality of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and their ability to be used for modeling complex cardiac diseases in adults. This review focuses on the development of cardiomyocyte induction from pluripotent stem cells, the recent progress in heart disease modeling using iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, and the challenges associated with understanding complex genetic diseases. To address these issues, we examine the similarity between iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and their ex vivo counterparts and how this relates to the method used to differentiate the pluripotent stem cells into a cardiomyocyte phenotype. We progress to examine categories of congenital cardiac abnormalities that are suitable for iPSC-based disease modeling.
- Embryonic stem cells
- Induced pluripotent stem cells