Functional cardiac tissue engineering

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Heart attack remains the leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide. Stem cell-based therapies, including the use of engineered cardiac tissues, have the potential to treat the massive cell loss and pathological remodeling resulting from heart attack. Specifically, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells are a promising source for generation of therapeutically relevant numbers of functional cardiomyocytes and engineering of cardiac tissues in vitro. This review will describe methodologies for successful differentiation of pluripotent stem cells towards the cardiovascular cell lineages as they pertain to the field of cardiac tissue engineering. The emphasis will be placed on comparing the functional maturation in engineered cardiac tissues and developing heart and on methods to quantify cardiac electrical and mechanical function at different spatial scales.

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