Though stem cells transplanted into heart attack patients can develop into cardiomyocytes and integrate with undamaged host tissue, preclinical studies and clinical trials have only shown limited improvements in cardiac function. Using a simplified, in vitro, "muscle on-a-chip" system, Aratyn-Schaus et al. reveal that mechanical forces are not transmitted efficiently between weaker, stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes and stronger, more mature host cells.
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