Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, Volume 7, 31 March 2020, Pages 43 Multicellular In vitro Models of Cardiac Arrhythmias: Focus on Atrial Fibrillation. van Gorp PRR, Trines SA, Pijnappels DA, de Vries AAF

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice with a large socioeconomic impact due to its associated morbidity, mortality, reduction in quality of life and health care costs. Currently, antiarrhythmic drug therapy is the first line of treatment for most symptomatic AF patients, despite its limited efficacy, the risk of inducing potentially life-threating ventricular tachyarrhythmias as well as other side effects. Alternative, in-hospital treatment modalities consisting of electrical cardioversion and invasive catheter ablation improve patients' symptoms, but often have to be repeated and are still associated with serious complications and only suitable for specific subgroups of AF patients. The development and progression of AF generally results from the interplay of multiple disease pathways and is accompanied by structural and functional (e.g., electrical) tissue remodeling. Rational development of novel treatment modalities for AF, with its many different etiologies, requires a comprehensive insight into the complex pathophysiological mechanisms. Monolayers of atrial cells represent a simplified surrogate of atrial tissue well-suited to investigate atrial arrhythmia mechanisms, since they can easily be used in a standardized, systematic and controllable manner to study the role of specific pathways and processes in the genesis, perpetuation and termination of atrial arrhythmias. In this review, we provide an overview of the currently available two- and three-dimensional multicellular in vitro systems for investigating the initiation, maintenance and termination of atrial arrhythmias and AF. This encompasses cultures of primary (animal-derived) atrial cardiomyocytes (CMs), pluripotent stem cell-derived atrial-like CMs and (conditionally) immortalized atrial CMs. The strengths and weaknesses of each of these model systems for studying atrial arrhythmias will be discussed as well as their implications for future studies.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation, in vitro model, Disease Modeling, Primary Cardiomyocyte, Arrhythmia Research, (Conditionally) Immortalized Cardiomyocyte, (Induced) Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Cardiomyoc

Front Cardiovasc Med. 2020 Mar;7:43