Scientists at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering have developed a novel tissue scaffold that activates the modular assembly of cardiac tissue sheets.
According to the scientists, a 2-D (two-dimensional) asymmetrical honeycomb-shaped polymer mesh was devised to ensure adherence and linear organization of cardiac cells.
The flexible biodegradable polymer enables coordinated beating of the adhered cells in response to an electric current.
The specialty of the scaffold relies in the T-shaped posts on the top of the honeycomb, which click into place when a second module is positioned over the top.
When combined together, the modular sheets begin beating in unison in response to electrical current. Also, because three different sheets were used, (cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells), the result is the tissue that more closely resembles human heart tissue.
The relative simplicity of assembly and functionality of the sheets, make this a promising technique for further in vivo testing and translation for cardiac repair.
"One of the main advantages is the ease of use. We can build larger tissue structures immediately before they are needed, and disassemble them just as easily. I don't know of any other technique that gives this ability," said Professor Milica Radisic, lead author.