Single-cell reconstruction of the adult human heart during heart failure and recovery reveals the cellular landscape underlying cardiac function

Nat Cell Biol. 2020 Jan;22(1):108-119. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0446-7. Epub 2020 Jan 8.


Owing to the prevalence and high mortality rates of cardiac diseases, a more detailed characterization of the human heart is necessary; however, this has been largely impeded by the cellular diversity of cardiac tissue and limited access to samples. Here, we show transcriptome profiling of 21,422 single cells-including cardiomyocytes (CMs) and non-CMs (NCMs)-from normal, failed and partially recovered (left ventricular assist device treatment) adult human hearts. Comparative analysis of atrial and ventricular cells revealed pronounced inter- and intracompartmental CM heterogeneity as well as compartment-specific utilization of NCM cell types as major cell-communication hubs. Systematic analysis of cellular compositions and cell-cell interaction networks showed that CM contractility and metabolism are the most prominent aspects that are correlated with changes in heart function. We also uncovered active engagement of NCMs in regulating the behaviour of CMs, exemplified by ACKR1+-endothelial cells, injection of which preserved cardiac function after injury. Beyond serving as a rich resource, our study provides insights into cell-type-targeted intervention of heart diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Heart Failure / metabolism*
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*