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This article is part of the Research Topic

Mechanobiology: Emerging Tools and Methods

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Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. | doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00133

Heart of Glass: A review of in vitro platforms for understanding cardiomyocyte mechanobiology

 Ian L. Chin1*, Livia Hool1, 2 and Yu Suk Choi1
  • 1University of Western Australia, Australia
  • 2Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Australia

Mechanobiology - a cell’s interaction with its physical environment – can influence a myriad of cellular processes including how cells migrate, differentiate and proliferate. In many diseases, remodelling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is observed such as tissue stiffening in rigid scar formation after myocardial infarct. Utilising knowledge of cell mechanobiology in relation to ECM remodelling during pathogenesis, elucidating the role of the ECM in the progression – and perhaps regression – of disease is a primary focus of the field. Although the importance of mechanical signalling in the cardiac cell is well appreciated, our understanding of how these signals are sensed and transduced by cardiomyocytes is limited. To overcome this limitation, recently developed tools and resources have provided exciting opportunities to further our understandings by better recapitulating pathological spatiotemporal ECM stiffness changes in an in vitro setting. In this review, we provide an overview of a conventional model of mechanotransduction and present understandings of cardiomyocyte mechanobiology, followed by a review of emerging tools and resources that can be used to expand our knowledge of cardiomyocyte mechanobiology towards more clinically relevant applications.

Keywords: Heart disease, Biomaterials, Hydrogel, Cardiovasclar disease, Mechanosensation, Elasticity, Biophysical environment, Extracellular Matrix (ECM)

Received: 28 Mar 2019; Accepted: 17 May 2019.

Edited by:

Sara Baratchi, RMIT University, Australia

Reviewed by:

Leighton Izu, University of California, Davis, United States
Milena Bellin, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2019 Chin, Hool and Choi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Ian L. Chin, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia,