In vitro generation of functional murine heart organoids via FGF4 and extracellular matrix

Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 3;11(1):4283. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18031-5.


Our understanding of the spatiotemporal regulation of cardiogenesis is hindered by the difficulties in modeling this complex organ currently by in vitro models. Here we develop a method to generate heart organoids from mouse embryonic stem cell-derived embryoid bodies. Consecutive morphological changes proceed in a self-organizing manner in the presence of the laminin-entactin (LN/ET) complex and fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4), and the resulting in vitro heart organoid possesses atrium- and ventricle-like parts containing cardiac muscle, conducting tissues, smooth muscle and endothelial cells that exhibited myocardial contraction and action potentials. The heart organoids exhibit ultrastructural, histochemical and gene expression characteristics of considerable similarity to those of developmental hearts in vivo. Our results demonstrate that this method not only provides a biomimetic model of the developing heart-like structure with simplified differentiation protocol, but also represents a promising research tool with a broad range of applications, including drug testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Amino Acids, Diamino / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomimetics / methods
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 / metabolism*
  • Heart* / growth & development
  • Heart* / physiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocardium
  • Organoids* / cytology
  • Organoids* / growth & development
  • Organoids* / ultrastructure


  • Amino Acids, Diamino
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 4
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • nidogen
  • laminine