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First 3D Sensor to Measure Heart Cell Interaction

By Enterprise Technology Review | Friday, August 30, 2019

First 3D Sensor to Measure Heart Cell Interaction

Newly developed organ-on-an-electronic-chip helps in measuring the three-dimensional electrophysiology of heart cells

Fremont, CA: For decades, heart cells were analyzed using cells and cultures on two-dimensional surfaces such as culture dishes. To improve this traditional method of reading the heart’s electrical patterns, scientists have developed a new platform known as organ-on-an-electronic-chip to measure the three-dimensional electrophysiology of heart cells. The platform consists of 3D, self-rolling bioelectrical sensor arrays designed in a way to coil-up over heart cell spheroid tissues to study the cell communication in multicell systems like the heart.

According to the study, the organ-on-e-chip approach while obtaining electrophysiological information from the heart tissue, help developing drugs, and checking its suitability for treating diseases.

Researchers construct organ-on-e-chip in a way such that on the chip surface they fix an array of sensors either graphene sensors or those made of metallic electrodes. It is followed by etching off the “sacrificial layer” that is the bottom layer of germanium. After the removal of the layer, biosensor array releases from the hold that rolls up in a barrel-shaped structure from the surface.

The developed organ-on-e-chip was tested on three-dimensional heart cell structures like cardiac spheroids, or elongated organoids. These cardiac spheroids width encompasses two to three human hairs. Thus, by coiling the bioelectrical sensor platform around the spheroid, scientists can derive the high precision electrical signal readings.

The 3D self-rolling biosensor arrays were created to explore the electrophysiology of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Also, this platform can be used to analyze tissue regeneration and growth. It potentially treats damaged tissues after a heart attack or developing new drugs to treat diseases associated with the heart.

All human organs are 3D in nature. But for many years, electrophysiology was done using a 2D tissue culture dish. With the introduction of innovative electrophysiology techniques, the study of 3D structures has become feasible. Thus, the core idea of the research is to eliminate the traditional methods done in a planar geometry and to replace them with new techniques by executing the study in three dimensions.