During heart attacks, the partial interruption of blood supply to the cardiac muscle severely damages heart cells (cardiomyocytes).
A promising strategy to repair infarcted hearts consists in transplanting engineered heart patches, namely artificial tissues produced in vitro by growing cardiac cells on 3-dimensional scaffold. This approach, however, is very challenging. In order to be functional, the engineered cardiac tissue has to able to transfer the electrical signals which enable it to contract.
To improve the contractility of engineered heart tissues, Michal Shevach and colleagues, Tel Aviv University, Israel, grew cardiomyocytes on a gold nanoparticles-based scaffold. They demonstrated that the incorporation of gold nanoparticles into a polycaprolactone-gelatin scaffold is essential for generating a contracting cardiac tissue. The contraction rate of heart patches grown on the novel scaffold was higher than the one observed when growing cardiac cells on conventional scaffolds.
Cardiac tissues obtained using gold nanoparticles-based scaffolds might, thus, be used to improve the function of infracted hearts.
- Nanoengineering gold particle composite fibers for cardiac tissue engineering,
Michal Shevach, Ben M. Maoz, Ron Feiner, Assaf Shapira, Tal Dvir,
J. Mater. Chem. B 2013.