Heart function relies on the interplay of several specialized cell types and a precisely regulated network of chemical and mechanical stimuli. Over the last few decades, this complexity has often been undervalued and progress in translational cardiovascular research has been significantly hindered by the lack of appropriate research models. The data collected are often oversimplified and these make the translation of results from the laboratory to clinical trials challenging and occasionally misleading. Living myocardial slices are ultrathin (100-400μm) sections of living cardiac tissue that maintain the native multicellularity, architecture, and structure of the heart and can provide information at a cellular/subcellular level. They overcome most of the limitations that affect other in vitro models and they can be prepared from human specimens, proving a clinically relevant multicellular human model for translational cardiovascular research. The publication of a reproducible protocol, and the rapid progress in methodological and technological discoveries which prevent significant structural and functional changes associated with chronic in vitro culture, has overcome the last barrier for the in vitro use of this human multicellular preparations. This technology can bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo human studies and has the potential to revolutionize translational research approaches.
Keywords: Living myocardial slices; Translational research.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.