Each confocal microscope image here highlights a protein characteristic of a different type of cell in a human heart organoid from Aitor Aguirre’s biomedical engineering lab at Michigan State University. The blue shows all cell nuclei; red is epicardial lineage cells on the outside of the heart; purple is epithelial cells inside the heart; and green is the cardiac muscle cells responsible for making the heart beat. Organoids are three-dimensional “mini organs” grown from stem cells. They’re made to mimic an organ’s multicellular complexity, which helps scientists study the molecular mechanisms behind development, drugs, and diseases. Aguirre’s lab is using them to study congenital heart defects. The researchers are working on improved methods for making organoids that will be as similar as possible to fetal human hearts.
Credit: Aitor Aguirre/Brett Volmert
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