Despite capturing the imagination of scientists for decades, the goal of creating an artificial heart for transplantation proved to be significantly more challenging than initially anticipated. Toward this goal, recent ground-breaking studies demonstrate the development of functional left ventricular (LV) models. LV models are artificially constructed 3D chambers that are capable of containing liquid within the engineered cavity and exhibit the functionality of native LV including contraction, ejection of fluid, and electrical impulse propagation. Various hydrogels and polymers have been used in manufacturing of LV models, relying on techniques such as electrospinning, bioprinting, casting, and molding. Most studies scaled down the models based on the dimensions of the human or rat ventricle. Initially, neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were the cell type of choice for construction the LV models. Yet, as the stem cell biology field advanced, recent studies focused on the use of cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. In this review, we first describe the physiological characteristics of the human heart, to establish the parameter space for modeling. We then elaborate on current advances in the field and compare recently developed LV models among themselves and with the native human left ventricle. Fabrication methods, cell types, biomaterials, functional properties, and disease modeling capability are some of the major parameters that have distinguished these models. We also highlight some of the current challenges in this field, such as vascularization, cell composition and fidelity, and discuss potential solutions to overcome them.
Keywords: cardiomyocyte; chamber; left ventricle; myocardium; organ-on-a-chip; tissue engineering.