Three-dimensional (3D) cardiac tissue reconstruction using tissue engineering technology is a rapidly growing area of regenerative medicine and drug screening development. However, there remains an urgent need for the development of a method capable of accurately measuring the contractile force of physiologically relevant 3D myocardial tissues to facilitate the prediction of human heart tissue drug sensitivity. To this end, our laboratory has developed a novel drug screening model that measures the contractile force of cardiac cell sheets prepared using temperature-responsive culture dishes. To circumvent the difficulties that commonly arise during the stacking of cardiomyocyte sheets, we established a stacking method using centrifugal force, making it possible to measure 3D myocardial tissue. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes were seeded in a temperature-responsive culture dish and processed into a sheet. The cardiac cell sheets were multilayered to construct 3D cardiac tissue. Measurement of the contractile force and cross-sectional area of the multilayered 3D cardiac tissue were then obtained and used to determine the relationship between the cross-sectional area of the cardiac tissue and its contractile force. The contractile force of the 1-, 3-, and 5-layer tissues increased linearly in proportion to the cross-sectional area. A result of 6.4 mN/mm2, accounting for one-seventh of the contractile force found in adult tissue, was obtained. However, with 7-layer tissues, there was a sudden drop in the contractile force, possibly because of limited oxygen and nutrient supply. In conclusion, we established a method wherein the thickness of the cell sheets was controlled through layering, thus enabling accurate evaluation of the cardiac contractile function. This method may enable comparisons with living heart tissue while providing information applicable to regenerative medicine and drug screening models.
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