Bioengineering of a human innervated cardiac muscle model


Schneider LV, Bao G, Methi A, Jensen O, Schmoll KA, Setya MG, Sakib MS, Fahud AL, Brockmoeller J, Fischer A, Liaw NY, Zimmermann WH, Zafeiriou MP




bioRxiv 2023.08.18.552653.


Cardiac autonomic neurons control cardiac contractility. Dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system can lead to sympathetic overdrive resulting in heart failure and an increased incidence of fatal arrhythmias. Here, we introduce innervated engineered human myocardium (iEHM), a novel model of neuro-cardiac junctions, constructed by fusion of a bioengineered neural organoid (BENO) patterned to autonomic nervous system and engineered human myocardium (EHM). Projections of sympathetic neurons into engineered human myocardium formed presynaptic terminals in close proximity to cardiomyocytes and an extensive vascular network co-developing in the tissues. Contractile responses to optogenetic stimulation of the accordingly engineered neuronal component demonstrated functionality of the engineered neuro-cardiac junctions in iEHM. This model will serve as a human surrogate system to delineate neuron and cardiac cell contribution to brain and heart diseases and is an important step towards engineering a human brain to heart axis in a dish.