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Multi-chambered heart organoid enables study of how regions of the embryonic heart coordinate

09 September 2022

Hearty Hope

The leading cause of embryonic and foetal mortality is congenital heart disease (CHD). For the majority of these cardiac defects, the underlying cause is unknown. To find possible explanations and devise preventative measures, researchers have now developed a way to study the impact of mutations, environmental factors like plastics, and drugs such as thalidomide, on embryonic heart development in the lab. They have created a human cardioid with multiple chambers that replicates all major regions of the embryonic heart. This video shows a three-chambered cardioid beating as a result of a single coordinated wave of electrical activity (white) mimicking how the developing organ works and how a heart’s rhythm is controlled. This structure is the first chance that researchers have to study how different regions of the embryonic heart communicate and coordinate. It will be a vital tool to find explanations behind the causes of CHD.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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