Key publications

UQ Centre for Cardiac and Vascular Biology Publications


Injured heart organoids regenerate themselves

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Injured heart organoids regenerate themselves

Development of a human cardiac organoid injury model reveals innate regenerative potential.

Published in the Special Issue of Development on Organoids



The adult human heart possesses a limited regenerative potential following an ischemic event, and undergoes a number of pathological changes in response to injury. Although cardiac regeneration has been documented in zebrafish and neonatal mouse hearts, it is currently unknown whether the immature human heart is capable of undergoing complete regeneration. Combined progress in pluripotent stem cell differentiation and tissue engineering has facilitated the development of human cardiac organoids (hCOs), which resemble fetal heart tissue and can be used to address this important knowledge gap. This study aimed to characterize the regenerative capacity of immature human heart tissue in response to injury. Following cryoinjury with a dry ice probe, hCOs exhibited an endogenous regenerative response with full functional recovery 2 weeks after acute injury. Cardiac functional recovery occurred in the absence of pathological fibrosis or cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Consistent with regenerative organisms and neonatal human hearts, there was a high basal level of cardiomyocyte proliferation, which may be responsible for the regenerative capacity of the hCOs. This study suggests that immature human heart tissue has an intrinsic capacity to regenerate.

Holly K. Voges, Richard J. Mills, David A. Elliott, Robert G. Parton, Enzo R. Porrello, James E. Hudson. Development of a human cardiac organoid injury model reveals innate regenerative potential.

© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


This paper was highlighted in an interview on the Node, for "The people behind the papers: Holly Voges, Enzo Porrello and James Hudson"

Holly Voges, and her co-supervisors Enzo Porrello and James Hudson from the Cardiac Regeneration Lab at the University of Queensland tell the stories behind their cardiac regeneration research. Their paper on use of human cardiac organoids to address the regenerative capacity of the immature heart is part of the current Development special issue on organoids.