Altered electrical, biomolecular, and immunologic phenotypes in a novel patient-derived stem cell model of Desmoglein-2 mutant ARVC

Robert N. Hawthorne, Adriana Blazeski, Justin Lowenthal, Suraj Kannan, Roald Teuben, Deborah Disilvestre, Justin Morrissette-Mcalmon, Jeffrey E. Saffitz, Kenneth R. Boheler, Cynthia A. James, Stephen P. Chelko, Gordon Tomaselli, Leslie Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a progressive heart condition which causes fibro-fatty myocardial scarring, ventricular arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. Most cases of ARVC can be linked to pathogenic mutations in the cardiac desmosome, but the pathophysiology is not well understood, particularly in early phases when arrhythmias can develop prior to structural changes. Here, we created a novel human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte (hiPSC-CM) model of ARVC from a patient with a c.2358delA variant in desmoglein-2 (DSG2). These DSG2-mutant (DSG2Mut) hiPSC-CMs were compared against two wildtype hiPSC-CM lines via immunostaining, RT-qPCR, Western blot, RNA-Seq, cytokine expression and optical mapping. Mutant cells expressed reduced DSG2 mRNA and had altered localization of desmoglein-2 protein alongside thinner, more disorganized myofibrils. No major changes in other desmosomal proteins were noted. There was increased pro-inflammatory cytokine expression that may be linked to canonical and non-canonical NFκB signaling. Action potentials in DSG2Mut CMs were shorter with increased upstroke heterogeneity, while time-to-peak calcium and calcium decay rate were reduced. These were accompanied by changes in ion channel and calcium handling gene expression. Lastly, suppressing DSG2 in control lines via siRNA allowed partial recapitulation of electrical anomalies noted in DSG2Mut cells. In conclusion, the aberrant cytoskeletal organization, cytokine expression, and electrophysiology found DSG2Mut hiPSC-CMs could underlie early mechanisms of disease manifestation in ARVC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3061
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2021


  • ARVC
  • Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
  • Desmoglein-2
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • NFκB signaling
  • Patient-derived stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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