Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a frequent reason for heart failure and involves one or both of the heart’s ventricles becoming larger. This condition is connected to a reduction in cardiomyocytes, which are heart muscle cells, and is life-threatening due to inability of the heart to repair.
We are using stem cells to generate 2D and 3D cardiac models so that we can represent DCM. We employ these models in microscopy-based drug screens to find compounds that promote cardiomyocyte regeneration, which can be used as a potential treatment for DCM.
We have carried out a set of screens to identify compounds that enhance heart regeneration in three independent stem cell-derived 2D cardiac models. We are now generating cell lines that will enable us to observe heart cell proliferation in real time, which will help us to narrow down which compounds to focus on.
Proliferation (blue) of heart muscle cells (red) in a stem-cell derived 2D cardiac model.
The experiment was carried out by Dr Frankie Butera and Rachel Morris from Professor Enzo Porrello and Professor Dave Elliott’s Heart Regeneration lab, MCRI. The image was captured by Dr Frankie Butera, reNEW Melbourne.