Atlas of the Human Heart

The first atlas of human heart cells has been created. It is a collection of maps showing nearly half a million heart cells and identifying the role of each in the heart’s symphony. 

This image from the Heart Cell Atlas shows six heart regions (left and right atria and ventricles, apex, and interventricular septum). Color coding is used to indicate cell types. Credit:

The data base which has been created will be able to help in the understanding of heart disease.

 Christine Seidman, a cardiovascular geneticist at Harvard University said:

“First we need to know what is normal.”

Only a small number of donor hearts were studied to compile the data base but the new atlas revealed some biological surprises.

The team found previously unknown cell diversity in various parts of the heart. They also uncovered differences between the healthy hearts of males and females; females had a greater proportion of heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, than males.

Christine Seidman commented that it means that more research is needed as those cells might hold clues to differences in heart disease between the sexes.

The data from the international project can be found here: Heart Cell Atlas

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