Wang et al (Nat Med. 2014 May 11. doi: 10.1038/nm.3545.) just published a fascinating set of experiences in which they created a model of a Barth Syndrome cardiac dysfunction by using “heart on chip” technology. This technology involves using Barth patient derived induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes seeded on micropatterned fibronectin rectangles in order to recapitulate cardiac tissue structure. From these experiments, the authors were able to derive information about sarcomere organization, contractile dysfunction among other relevant parameters. This model, and the success of these experiments, holds great promise in the development of therapies for cardiomyopathy, as well as creating a system in which phenotype/genotype correlations of specific gene mutations can be better understood.
Hilary Vernon, MD PhD