This paper describes the generation of species-specific, functional in vitro experimental models of FA using 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) engineered cardiac tissues from FXN-deficient human pluripotent stem cell-derived ventricular cardiomyocytes (hPSC-hvCMs). FXN-deficient hvCTS displayed attenuated developed forces (by 70-80%) compared to healthy controls. High-resolution optical mapping of hvCAS with reduced FXN expression also revealed electrophysiological defects consistent with clinical observations, including action potential duration prolongation and maximum capture frequency reduction. Interestingly, a clear positive correlation between FXN expression and contractility was observed (ρ > 0.9), and restoration of FXN protein levels by lentiviral transduction rescued contractility defects in FXN-deficient hvCTS. The authors conclude that these human-based in vitro cardiac tissue models of FA provide a translational, disease-relevant biomimetic platform for the evaluation of novel therapeutics and to provide insight into FA disease progression.

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