Better Materials for Cardiac Tissue Engineering

Better Materials for Cardiac Tissue Engineering


Synthetic patches of cardiac tissue can help repair hearts damaged, e.g., by heart attacks or coronary artery disease. However, engineering synthetic transplants that mimic the mechanical and biophysical properties of cardiac tissue is a considerable challenge. Biocompatible scaffolds such as natural polymer hydrogels lack mechanical strength and electric conductivity.

Xiaowu (Shirley) Tang, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Ali Khademhosseini, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA, and colleagues have developed a biocompatible hybrid scaffold material for cardiac tissue engineering. The material combines reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA), a denatured form of collagen, into a single hydrogel. rGO improves the mechanical and electrical properties of the material.

The researchers synthesized rGO by reducing graphene oxide with ascorbic acid as a biocompatible reducing agent. The rGo was then added to a solution of GelMA. The reaction mixture was exposed to UV light in the presence of a photoinitiator to induce crosslinking and give the final hydrogel thin films.

The researchers tested the material’s suitability as a scaffold for cardiac cells and found that the hydrogel was biocompatible. Cells cultured on the hybrid material had improved cell viability, proliferation, and maturation compared to cells grown on pure GelMA hydrogels. They also exhibited a stronger contractility and a faster spontaneous beating rate. According to the researchers, the hybrid material is promising for the fabrication of cardiac tissue constructs. It could also be used to provide models of heart tissue for in vitro research.

Also of Interest

  • Video: Materials for Medical Applications,
    Mario Müller, 2014.
    Ali Khademhosseini talks about his research focusing on biomaterials and tissue engineering



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