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Heart Health

Miniature Human Heart Created from Rat Heart

Creating a miniature human heart from an animal model sounds like futuristic science fiction, but it’s already been done.

According to a release from the American Heart Association, a miniature human heart created by introducing human cells into the matrix of a whole rat heart may make it easier to confirm basic science findings and test potential new heart drugs for safety and efficacy.

The preliminary study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2017 Scientific Sessions.

For years, researchers have used the Langendorff method to remove the heart from an animal in order to introduce fluid through the aorta, the body’s largest vessel, then into the artery network of a heart. This method is also used to deliver solutions that strip away cells from the rat heart before introducing the human cells to model a human heart.

In the current study, researchers used a technique called 4-Flow cannulation, which introduces solution not just into the arteries but into the veins’ network of the heart. This system allowed the researchers to strip rat cells while preserving the lining matrix of the whole heart to repopulate with human cells. Unlike the Langendorff perfusion, 4-Flow cannulation enabled the researchers to preserve the circulation within the entire heart to maintain the normal flow and in addition to stimulate the mechanical expansion heart chambers.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding

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