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Cardiomyocytes derived from human stem cells are quickly becoming mainstays of cardiac regenerative medicine, in vitro disease modeling, and drug screening. Their suitability for such roles may seem obvious, but assessments of their contractile behavior suggest that they have not achieved a completely mature cardiac muscle phenotype. This could be explained in part by an incomplete transition from fetal to adult myofilament protein isoform expression. In this commentary, we review evidence that supports this hypothesis and discuss prospects for ultimately generating engineered heart tissue specimens that behave similarly to adult human myocardium. We suggest approaches to better characterize myofilament maturation level in these in vitro systems, and illustrate how new computational models could be used to better understand complex relationships between muscle contraction, myofilament protein isoform expression, and maturation.
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