A micro-spherical heart pump powered by cultured cardiomyocytes

Lab Chip. 2007 Feb;7(2):207-12. doi: 10.1039/b612082b. Epub 2006 Nov 13.


Miniaturization of chemical or biochemical systems creates extremely efficient devices exploiting the advantages of microspaces. Although they are often targeted for implanted tissue engineered organs or drug-delivery devices because of their highly integrated systems, microfluidic devices are usually powered by external energy sources and therefore difficult to be used in vivo. A microfluidic device powered without the need for external energy sources or stimuli is needed. Previously, we demonstrated the concept of a cardiomyocyte pump using only chemical energy input to cells as a driver (Yo Tanaka, Keisuke Morishima, Tatsuya Shimizu, Akihiko Kikuchi, Masayuki Yamato, Teruo Okano and Takehiko Kitamori, Lab Chip, 6(3), pp. 362-368). However, the structure of this prototype pump described there included complicated mechanical components and fabricated compartments. Here, we have created a micro-spherical heart-like pump powered by spontaneously contracting cardiomyocyte sheets driven without a need for external energy sources or coupled stimuli. This device was fabricated by wrapping a beating cardiomyocyte sheet exhibiting large contractile forces around a fabricated hollow elastomeric sphere (5 mm diameter, 250 microm polymer thickness) fixed with inlet and outlet ports. Fluid oscillations in a capillary connected to the hollow sphere induced by the synchronously pulsating cardiomyocyte sheet were confirmed, and the device continually worked for at least 5 days in this system. This bio/artificial hybrid fluidic pump device is innovative not only because it is driven by cells using only chemical energy input, but also because the design is an optimum structure (sphere). We anticipate that this device might be applied for various purposes including a bio-actuator for medical implant devices that relies on biochemical energy, not electrical interfacing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / chemistry
  • Equipment Design
  • Heart, Artificial*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Microfluidics
  • Miniaturization
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Oscillometry
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Rats
  • Silicones / chemistry
  • Time Factors


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Silicones
  • baysilon