NIH-funded scientists create adult-like cardiac model for drug testing
"Human cardiac tissues grown in the lab that displays the behavior of native heart muscle would be transformative for biomedical research," said Gordana Vunjak-Novaković, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering Professor at Columbia University. "To reach this goal, we forced the cultured heart muscle to go through the fetal-to-postnatal transition by an accelerated development. This was done by using early-stage iPS-CMs and increasing the frequency of electrically induced contractions, little by little, every day. The tissues responded, and displayed adult-like gene expression, remarkably organized ultrastructure, and a number of functional features seen in the mature heart muscle, after only four weeks of culture."
Vunjak-Novaković and her team have made significant strides in reliably engineering human heart muscle that mimics adult myocardium. They found that the longer they waited to introduce physical stimuli such as electric current and mechanical stimulation to the iPSCs, the less responsive the cells were. The team reasoned that the earlier they introduced electromechanical stimuli, the greater the effect would be.
The researchers found that the third scenario, introducing physical conditioning at an increasing intensity to early stage iPS-CMs, helped them form adult-like human cardiac tissue after just four weeks of culture in the lab.
The study was funded by National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute through grants EB017103, EB025765, HL076485, and HL138486.
# # #
The mission of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. For more information about the NIBIB, visit https://www.nibib.nih.gov/.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.