An intrinsic, label-free signal for identifying stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte subtype

Che Wei Chang, Hillary K.J. Kao, Sergey Yechikov, Deborah K. Lieu, James W. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes have many promising applications, including the regeneration of injured heart muscles, cardiovascular disease modeling, and drug cardiotoxicity screening. Current differentiation protocols yield a heterogeneous cell population that includes pluripotent stem cells and different cardiac subtypes (pacemaking and contractile cells). The ability to purify these cells and obtain well-defined, controlled cell compositions is important for many downstream applications; however, there is currently no established and reliable method to identify hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and their subtypes. Here, we demonstrate that second harmonic generation (SHG) signals generated directly from the myosin rod bundles can be a label-free, intrinsic optical marker for identifying hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. A direct correlation between SHG signal intensity and cardiac subtype is observed, with pacemaker-like cells typically exhibiting ~70% less signal strength than atrial- and ventricular-like cardiomyocytes. These findings suggest that pacemaker-like cells can be separated from the heterogeneous population by choosing an SHG intensity threshold criteria. This work lays the foundation for developing an SHG-based high-throughput flow sorter for purifying hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and their subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStem Cells
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • action potential
  • hiPSC-CMs
  • pacemaking
  • second harmonic generation
  • subtypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'An intrinsic, label-free signal for identifying stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte subtype'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this