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Growing Heart

Electric field-driven 3D bioprinted scaffold for successful cardiac tissue maturation

10 May 2023

Growing Heart

Growing up in a supportive environment is at the heart of healthy, happy development. This is true for our hearts as well, and scientists engineering heart tissue from stem cells (starter cells with limitless development potential) for use in research and healthcare are trying to create that perfect environment. Engineered heart tissue is often limited because the cells don’t fully mature, restricting their use. A new 3D printing technique using an electric field to precisely deposit materials and create complex structures has produced an ideal microenvironment to support maturation, like a loving home or enriching school. Heart tissue grew along the structure (pictured, with fibrous actin in red and a heart cell protein in green) and showed mature cell behaviours. Scaffolds like this could help create new tissue to repair damage rather than relying on scarce donor hearts, and also provide material for tests of new potential treatments.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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