Functional arrays of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac microtissues

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 24;10(1):6919. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62955-3.


To accelerate the cardiac drug discovery pipeline, we set out to develop a platform that would be capable of quantifying tissue-level functions such as contractile force and be amenable to standard multiwell-plate manipulations. We report a 96-well-based array of 3D human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived cardiac microtissues - termed Cardiac MicroRings (CaMiRi) - in custom 3D-print-molded multiwell plates capable of contractile force measurement. Within each well, two elastomeric microcantilevers are situated above a circumferential ramp. The wells are seeded with cell-laden collagen, which, in response to the gradual slope of the circumferential ramp, self-organizes around tip-gated microcantilevers to form contracting CaMiRi. The contractile force exerted by the CaMiRi is measured and calculated using the deflection of the cantilevers. Platform responses were robust and comparable across wells, and we used it to determine an optimal tissue formulation. We validated the contractile force response of CaMiRi using selected cardiotropic compounds with known effects. Additionally, we developed automated protocols for CaMiRi seeding, image acquisition, and analysis to enable the measurement of contractile force with increased throughput. The unique tissue fabrication properties of the platform, and the consequent effects on tissue function, were demonstrated upon adding hPSC-derived epicardial cells to the system. This platform represents an open-source contractile force screening system useful for drug screening and tissue engineering applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Automation
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Cardiotonic Agents