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Comparing fabrication techniques for engineered cardiac tissue.

Tissue engineering can provide in vitro models for drug testing, disease modeling, and perhaps someday, tissue/organ replacements. For building 3D heart tissue, the alignment of cardiac cells or cardiomyocytes (CMs) is important in generating a synchronously contracting tissue. To that end, researchers have generated several fabrication methods for building heart tissue, but direct comparisons of pros and cons using the same cell source is lacking. Here, we derived cardiomyocytes (CMs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and compare the assembly of these cells using three fabrication methods: cardiospheres, muscle rings, and muscle strips. All three protocols successfully generated compacted tissue comprised of hiPSC-derived CMs stable for at least 2 weeks. The percentage of aligned cells was greatest in the muscle strip (55%) and the muscle ring (50%) compared with the relatively unaligned cardiospheres (35%). The iPSC-derived CMs within the muscle strip also exhibited the greatest elongation, with elongation factor at 2.0 compared with 1.5 for the muscle ring and 1.2 for the cardiospheres. This is the first direct comparison of various fabrication techniques using the same cell source.

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