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Animal models have proven integral to broadening our understanding of complex cardiac diseases but have been hampered by significant species-dependent differences in cellular physiology. Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) have shown great promise in the modelling of cardiac diseases despite limitations in functional and structural maturity. 3D stem cell-derived cardiac models represent a step towards mimicking the intricate microenvironment present in the heart as an in vitro model. Incorporation of non-myocyte cell types, such as cardiac fibroblasts, into engineered heart tissue models (EHTs) can help better recapitulate the cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions present in the human myocardium. Integration of human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac fibroblasts (hiPSC-CFs) and hiPSC-CM into EHT models enables the generation of a genetically homogeneous modelling system capable of exploring the abstruse structural and electrophysiological interplay present in cardiac pathophysiology. Furthermore, the construction of more physiologically relevant 3D cardiac models offers great potential in the replacement of animals in heart disease research. Here we describe efficient and reproducible protocols for the differentiation of hiPSC-CMs and hiPSC-CFs and their subsequent assimilation into EHTs. The resultant EHT consists of longitudinally arranged iPSC-CMs, incorporated alongside hiPSC-CFs. EHTs with both hiPSC-CMs and hiPSC-CFs exhibit slower beating frequencies and enhanced contractile force compared to those composed of hiPSC-CMs alone. The modified protocol may help better characterise the interplay between different cell types in the myocardium and their contribution to structural remodelling and cardiac fibrosis.

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3D cardiac model, Engineered Heart Tissue (EHT), cardiac co-culture, cardiac fibrosis, induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiac fibroblasts (iPSC-CF), induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CM), Animals, Humans, Myocytes, Cardiac, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Myocardium, Heart Diseases, Tissue Engineering