3D lab culture model of of co-developing human heart and lung cells – mimicking their natural communication
Growing side by side in an early embryo, groups of cells destined to become the heart and lungs exchange chemical signals. Like many of our early tissues, their development is separate but collaborative, with life-long implications for health. Opening a window on these delicate moments is a welcome challenge for scientists. Here they treat human induced pluripotent stem cells with different chemicals to produce heart and lung ‘microtissues’ (highlighted in red and green, respectively) – 3D structures that mimic would-be organs. Researchers notice that lung microtissues develop quicker when grown next to young heart cells, only to part ways later in development, similar to how real tissues migrate into place in the womb. While they’ll never be so close again, the heart and lungs continue their partnership for the rest of our lives – with blood passed to and fro with every single beat.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.