Drug-induced QT prolongation is a major safety issue in the drug discovery process. This study was conducted to assess the electrophysiological responses of four substances using established preclinical assays usually used in regulatory studies (hERG channel or Purkinje fiber action potential) and a new assay (human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs)-field potential).
After acute exposure, moxifloxacin and dofetilide concentration-dependently decreased IKr amplitude (IC50 values: 102 μM and 40 nM, respectively) and lengthened action potential (100 μM moxifloxacin: +23% and 10 nM dofetilide: +18%) and field potential (300 μM moxifloxacin: +76% and 10 nM dofetilide: +38%) durations. Dofetilide starting from 30 nM induced arrhythmia in hiPSC-CMs. Overnight application of pentamidine (10 and 100 μM) and arsenic (1 and 10 μM) decreased IKr, whereas they were devoid of effects after acute application. Long-term pentamidine incubation showed a time- and concentration-dependent effect on field potential duration.
In conclusion, our data suggest that hiPSC-CMs represent a fully functional cellular electrophysiology model which may significantly improve the predictive validity of in vitro safety studies. Thereafter, lead candidates may be further investigated in patch-clamp assays for mechanistic studies on individual ionic channels or in a multicellular Purkinje fiber preparation for confirmatory studies on cardiac conduction.