The heart wall tissue, or the myocardium, is one of the main targets in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. Animal models have not been sufficient in mimicking the human myocardium as evident by the very low clinical translation rates of cardiovascular drugs. Additionally, current in vitro models of the human myocardium possess several shortcomings such as lack of physiologically relevant co-culture of myocardial cells, lack of a 3D biomimetic environment, and the use of non-human cells. In this study, we address these shortcomings through the design and manufacture of a myocardium-on-chip (MOC) using 3D cell-laden hydrogel constructs and human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derived myocardial cells. The MOC utilizes 3D spatially controlled co-culture of hiPSC derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) and hiPSC derived endothelial cells (iECs) integrated among iCMs as well as in capillary-like side channels, to better mimic the microvasculature seen in native myocardium. We first fully characterized iCMs using immunostaining, genetic, and electrochemical analysis and iECs through immunostaining and alignment analysis to ensure their functionality, and then seeded these cells sequentially into the MOC device. We showed that iECs could be cultured within the microfluidic device without losing their phenotypic lineage commitment, and align with the flow upon physiological level shear stresses. We were able to incorporate iCMs within the device in a spatially controlled manner with the help of photocrosslinkable polymers. The iCMs were shown to be viable and functional within the device up to 7 days, and were integrated with the iECs. The iCMs and iECs in this study were derived from the same hiPSC cell line, essentially mimicking the myocardium of an individual human patient. Such devices are essential for personalized medicine studies where the individual drug response of patients with different genetic backgrounds can be tested in a physiologically relevant manner.
Human iPSC-derived myocardium-on-chip with capillary-like flow for personalized medicineArticle
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