Sep 19, 2012
Injectable nanofibres support heart tissue
Heart failure due to myocardial infarction is a major cause of death worldwide. Affected cardiac tissue has limited ability to regenerate and while therapies are available to retard the progression of the disease, each has its own drawbacks attributed to loss of cells from the site of injection, development of scar tissue and mismatch of mechanical and biological properties. To improve the quality of the local microenvironment and encourage cell growth, researchers have proposed an injectable system of electrospun short poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) nanoﬁbres, which support tissue engineering.
The team based at the National University of Singapore hypothesized that the injection of cells together with short PGS ﬁbres would increase cell transplant retention and survival compared with standard cell injection systems. Earlier studies performed by the group have shown that the mechanical properties of PGS are comparable to those of native heart tissue (myocardium). However, for a non-invasive system, the biomaterial has to possess desirable modulus properties at body temperature (37 °C).
The researchers found that at 37 °C, PGS short fibres exhibited an elastic modulus of about 0.659 ± 0.19 MPa, comparable to native myocardium, and a viscous modulus of about 1.025 ± 0.88 MPa. In other words, at 37 °C, the sample both matches the elastic nature of the native myocardium and possesses a viscous nature that favours injection.
In the study, the system was characterized by SEM, FTIR and contact angle measurement to examine how the scaffold interacts with heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes).
Full details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.
About the author
Rajeswari Ravichandran is a PhD student at National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore, under the supervision of Prof. Seeram Ramakrishna. Her research focuses on biomaterials for various tissue engineering applications and stem cell biology.