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Biotechniques. 2008 Mar;44(3):341-8. doi: 10.2144/000112682.

Formation of cardiac fibers in Matrigel matrix.

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  • 1Pharmacology and Physiology Department, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


We report a simple in vitro model of cardiac tissue that mimics three-dimensional (3-D) environment and mechanical load conditions and, as such, may serve as a convenient method to study stem cell engraftment or address developmental questions such as cytoskeleton or intercalated disk maturation. To create in vitro cardiac fibers we used Matrigel, a commercially available basement membrane preparation. A semisolid pillow from concentrated Matrigel was overlaid with a suspension of rat neonatal cardiomyocytes in a diluted Matrigel solution. This created an environment in which the multicellular fibers continuously contracted against a mechanical load. The described approach allows continuous structural and functional monitoring of 20-300-micron-thick cardiac fibers and provides easy access to epitopes for immunostaining purposes.

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