Cardiovascular model PDF Print


Heart has been shown to be particularly prone to toxic effects of drugs and chemical substances. Several cardiac as well as non-cardiac drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to cardiovascular toxic effects in humans, e.g. changes in cardiac rhythm. There is an urgent need for reliable in vitro cardiac model for assessment of toxicological and safety pharmacological potential of pharmaceuticals in drug development. The aim of this project is to develop a human cell based in vitro cardiovascular construct that can be used already in the early phases of drug development to lower the high costs of animal testing. Our in vitro cardiovascular construct is mimicking human heart instead of animal based cardiology presently used in drug development.


In vitro cardiovascular construct is based on co-culture of vascular-like structures and human cardiomyocytes. The presence of cells naturally resident in human heart is crucial for physiological function of in vitro cardiac model. The effects of different drugs and chemical substances to cardiomyocyte electrophysiology, contractility, toxicity and genetic modifications can be tested using our cardiovascular construct.


The proof of concept of in vitro cardiovascular construct was tested using rat cardiomyocytes. After optimization, the electrophysiological and metabolic properties of the construct was tested using human cardiomyocytes. Also drugs effecting cardiomyocyte contractility have been tested using human cardiovascular construct. The project is done in co-operation with the Institute of Biomedical Technology cardiology group, University of Tampere.