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Spontaneously contracting cell aggregates derived from grass carp heart as a promising tool in in vitro heart research

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Regarding challenges in isolation and maintenance of cultured heart cells, introduction of new in vitro heart model that is stable and exhibits long-term spontaneously contracting cell aggregates (SCCs), whose electrophysiological properties are comparable to the human heart, is required. This research aimed to establish cardiac primary cells and to evaluate the effects of culture conditions. Also the effect of fish age on beating SCC and cardiac cell morphology were studied. Twelve healthy grass carps (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were divided into four groups based on their age. Non-enzymatic explant culture was used and heart explants were incubated at 21–31 °C for 60 days. After proliferation of the cardiac primary cells, changes in their morphology and their beatings were recorded. The results showed that the explants derived from different age of grass carp fish are fully viable and proliferative with formation of SCC for a long period of time. By increasing the number of adhered cells, the cardiac primary cells became more flat and elongated. Increasing the medium temperature and fetal bovine serum concentration in culture medium led to decline and enhancement in beat frequencies of heart cell aggregates, respectively. Also, grass carp heart explant had high potential in regeneration (especially in young fish) and thus high feasibility to generate stable long-term cultures. In general, it seems that explant culture of heart from grass carp can be considered as a promising tool in heart research area.

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The authors thank ‘Babol University of Medical Sciences’-Deputy of Research and Technology for providing laboratory instruments and financially supporting this research.

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Correspondence to Ebrahim Zabihi.

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The authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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Rastgar, S., Alijani Ardeshir, R., Movahedinia, A. et al. Spontaneously contracting cell aggregates derived from grass carp heart as a promising tool in in vitro heart research. Cytotechnology 71, 261–266 (2019).

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