Modelling and Drug Discovery of Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential (CHIP)-driven Cardiovascular Disease in Self-organizing Cardiac Organoids (SCOs)

Yue Wang (Frankfurt am Main)1

1Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland


Background and Aim: Genome-wide association studies revealed a strong association between cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), highlighting one of its most common CHIP-driving mutations-TET2 (ten-eleven translocation 2), as a target for CHIP related CVD research. Our lab has established the generation of self-organizing cardiac organoids (SCO), which demonstrate the cellular composition and organization of the native human heart, and mimics human myocardial responses to stress stimulation. This project aims to examine whether SCOs would be an appropriate CHIP model and decipher promising drugs for cardiovascular CHIP treatment.

Methods: To study TET2-mutant cardiovascular CHIP, we set up the TET2 cardiac-CHIP model through a knockdown (KD) of TET2 in myeloid cells that infiltrated our lab-made SCO. Immunofluorescence and qPCR were performed to ascertain TET2-KD myeloid cell infiltration, SCO fibrosis, and apoptosis assessments. SCO fibrosis was further analyzed by immunofluorescence staining, and cardiac contractile frequency and amplitude were determined by calcium flux analysis. Finally, RNAseq was performed to analyze transcriptomic changes in drug/vehicle-treated TET2-KD myeloid cells and the TET2 cardiac-CHIP model.

Results: The TET2 cardiac-CHIP model resulted in significantly increased inflammation in SCO, accompanied by fibrosis and more cleaved Caspase-3, causing cardiomyocytes apoptosis and promoting the release of cTNT. The shortlisted drugs revealed a reduction of proliferation in TET2-KD myeloid cells, decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a higher apoptosis level. Furthermore, the TET2 cardiac-CHIP model treated with selected drugs showed a remarkable decline in TET2-KD myeloid cell infiltration and pro-inflammation cytokines, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, fibrosis, and lowered cTNT levels, while drug control groups were not affected. Moreover, the drug treatment groups improved the heartbeat frequency and amplitude accessed by the calcium transient assay. RNAseq data also validated the above findings.

Conclusions & Discussion: Our results indicate that SCOs are an efficient pre-clinical model for studying and validating CHIP genes and drug interactions. Our data revealed that TET2-KD myeloid cells invade SCO and secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, which promote apoptosis of cardiomyocytes and the release of cTNT. In this regard, our TET2 cardiac-CHIP model matches the inflammatory phenotype previously characterized in CHIP patients. Nevertheless, this phenotype could be rescued using positive drug candidates (Clopidogrel, R406, and Lanatoside C) selected by this project, emphasizing the significant value of our TET2 cardiac-CHIP model for drug screens and pre-clinical validation studies. Furthermore, among these three drug candidates, we found Lancatoside C, as proved by FDA/EMA, showed an unmet possibility for clinical therapeutic demand, insinuating potential benefit in repurposing Lanatoside C for the treatment of TET2-mutant cardiovascular CHIP.
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