Cardiac spheroids as promising in vitro models to study the human heart microenvironment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Liudmila Polonchuk
  • Mamta Chabria
  • Laura Badi
  • Jean-Christophe Hoflack
  • Gemma A Figtree
  • Davies, Michael J.
  • Carmine Gentile

Three-dimensional in vitro cell systems are a promising alternative to animals to study cardiac biology and disease. We have generated three-dimensional in vitro models of the human heart ("cardiac spheroids", CSs) by co-culturing human primary or iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and fibroblasts at ratios approximating those present in vivo. The cellular organisation, extracellular matrix and microvascular network mimic human heart tissue. These spheroids have been employed to investigate the dose-limiting cardiotoxicity of the common anti-cancer drug doxorubicin. Viability/cytotoxicity assays indicate dose-dependent cytotoxic effects, which are inhibited by the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NIO, and genetic inhibition of endothelial NOS, implicating peroxynitrous acid as a key damaging agent. These data indicate that CSs mimic important features of human heart morphology, biochemistry and pharmacology in vitro, offering a promising alternative to animals and standard cell cultures with regard to mechanistic insights and prediction of toxic effects in human heart tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7005
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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