Optical Tracking and Digital Quantification of Beating Behavior in Bioengineered Human Cardiac Organoids

Biosensors (Basel). 2017 Jun 23;7(3):24. doi: 10.3390/bios7030024.


Organoid and organ-on-a-chip technologies are rapidly advancing towards deployment for drug and toxicology screening applications. Liver and cardiac toxicities account for the majority of drug candidate failures in human trials. Liver toxicity generally produces liver cell death, while cardiac toxicity causes adverse changes in heart beat kinetics. In traditional 2D cultures, beating kinetics can be measured by electrode arrays, but in some 3D constructs, quantifying beating kinetics can be more challenging. For example, real time measurements of calcium flux or contractile forces are possible, yet rather complex. In this communication article, we demonstrate a simple sensing system based on software code that optically analyzes video capture files of beating cardiac organoids, translates these files in representations of moving pixels, and quantifies pixel movement activity over time to generate beat kinetic plots. We demonstrate this system using bioengineered cardiac organoids under baseline and drug conditions. This technology offers a non-invasive, low-cost, and incredibly simple method for tracking and quantifying beating behavior in cardiac organoids and organ-on-a-chip systems for drug and toxicology screening.

Keywords: biosensing; cardiac organoids; cardiomyocytes; drug response; heartbeat; organ-on-a-chip; organoid.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects*
  • Organoids / drug effects*


  • Calcium