About this Research Topic
Many cell types exist within the heart and vessels, and play key roles in the physiological function of the cardiovascular system. It is unsurprising therefore that successful regeneration of cardiovascular tissues after injury also require the controlled interaction of these cell types. While many functions of non-cardiomyocytes (fibroblasts, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and immune cells) in the heart or non-endothelial stromal cells (smooth muscle cells, pericytes and fibroblasts) in the vessel wall have been clarified in vivo, the role of multicellularity in creating physiologically relevant tissues remains mostly unknown. Several factors should be addressed in engineered tissues including humoral signals, cell-to-cell interactions, and matrix materials assessed for their effects on cell survival and enabling cell-to-tissue organisation.
There is a growing interest in creating 3-dimensional microphysiological models of the heart and vessels as tool to understand significance of the various cellular and extracellular components. By recapitulating the complex microenvironment that exists in the native tissues, cardiovascular microphysiological systems are proposed as new platforms that could bridge the gap between currently available models and the human body. It is believed that beyond facilitating therapeutic tissue engineering, these systems will enable new insights into tissue morphogenesis, pathogenesis, and drug-induced structural and functional remodelling. Thus, these can be used for applications ranging from biological studies to areas such as pharmaceutical screening, nanomedicine, or toxicology. Current strategies that leverage induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may increase the relevance of tissue models for these approaches.
Within this Research Topic, we welcome articles (e.g. reviews, original research or methodology articles) on cardiovascular cell-to-cell communications as well as on current in vitro and in vivo strategies for physiologically/therapeutically relevant multicellular cardiovascular systems, including stem cell-based approaches, 3D microphysiological models, and engineered microtissues.
Keywords: multicellularity, in vitro 3D modelling, engineered cardiovascular tissues
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