Lab-grown minihearts beat like the real thing


Date: 31.05.2021

The miniature organs, or organoids, mimic the working heart of a 25-day-old human embryo and could help unravel many mysteries—including why babies’ hearts don’t scar after they experience a heart attack. They are no bigger than sesame seeds, and they pulse with a hypnotic rhythm. These are human “minihearts,” the first to be created in the lab with clearly beating chambers.

The experiment is “very important” for understanding congenital heart defects and human heart formation—work that has so far relied on animal models.

Although “miniorgans” like brains, guts, and livers have been grown in dishes for more than 10 years, heart organoids have been more challenging. The first ones, comprised of mouse cardiac cells, could contract rhythmically in a dish, but they looked more like a lump of cardiac cells than a proper heart, says Aitor Aguirre, a stem cell biologist at Michigan State University who has created his own beating human heart organoid.

The minihearts, which have so far survived for more than 3 months in the lab, will help scientists see heart development in unprecedented detail. They might also reveal the origins of cardiac problems like congenital heart defects in babies and cardiac cell death after heart attacks, says lead author Sasha Mendjan, a stem cell biologist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Based on: ScienceMag

#News #Health #Medical #AustrianAcademyofSciences #Whealthnews

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