Engineering cardiac tissue without the mechanical restriction of scaffolds has many important scientific applications. Even small functional cardiac tissue constructs could be used to study the effects of gene therapy or various drugs on cardiac tissue formation and contractility. On a larger scale, engineered cardiac muscle could be used to develop replacement tissue for individuals with heart failure. Furthermore, directing neonatal cardiomyocytes to self-organize into contractile cardiac tissue may yield valuable information on essential developmental processes. We describe a method for culturing cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts in such a way as to promote the self-organization of a contractile cardiac muscle organ in culture. We designate these tissue constructs cardioids, as they are similar to cardiac muscle in terms of cell-to-cell connectivity and contractility.
- Cardiac muscle
- Cell physiology