Engineering the heart piece by piece: State of the art in cardiac tissue engineering

Louise Hecker, Ravi K. Birla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


According to the National Transplant Society, more than 7000 Americans in need of organs die every year owing to a lack of lifesaving organs. Bioengineering 3D organs in vitro for subsequent implantation may provide a solution to this problem. The field of tissue engineering in its most rudimentary form is focused on the developed of transplantable organ substitutes in the laboratory. The objective of this article is to introduce important technological hurdles in the field of cardiac tissue engineering. This review starts with an overview of tissue engineering, followed by an introduction to the field of cardiovascular tissue engineering and finally summarizes some of the key advances in cardiac tissue engineering; specific topics discussed in this article include cell sourcing and biomaterials, in vitro models of cardiac muscle and bioreactors. The article concludes with thoughts on the utility of tissue-engineering models in basic research as well as critical technological hurdles that need to be addressed in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-144
Number of pages20
JournalRegenerative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Active force
  • Artificial heart
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioreactors
  • Fibrin gel
  • Heart muscle
  • Perfusion
  • Scaffolds
  • Self-organization
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Embryology


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