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3d patterned cardiac tissue construct formation using biodegradable materials

Kenar, Halime
The heart does not regenerate new functional tissue when myocardium dies following coronary artery occlusion, or is defective. Ventricular restoration involves excising the infarct and replacing it with a cardiac patch to restore the heart to a more efficient condition. The goal of this study was to design and develop a myocardial patch to replace myocardial infarctions. A basic design was developed that is composed of 3D microfibrous mats that house mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from umbilical cord matrix (Wharton’s Jelly) aligned parallel to each other, and biodegradable macroporous tubings to supply growth media into the structure. Poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) prepolimer was synthesized and blended with P(L-D,L)LA and/or PHBV, to produce aligned microfiber (dia 1.16 - 1.37 ́m) mats and macroporous tubings. Hydrophilicity and softness of the polymer blends were found to be improved as a result of PGS introduction. The Wharton’s Jelly (WJ) MSCs were characterized by determination of their cell surface antigens with flow cytometry and by differentiating them into cells of mesodermal lineage (osteoblasts, adipocytes, chondrocytes). Cardiomyogenic differentiation potential of WJ MSCs in presence of differentiation factors was studied with RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry. WJ MSCs expressed cardiomyogenic transcription factors even in their undifferentiated state. Expression of a ventricular sarcomeric protein was observed upon differentiation. The electrospun, aligned microfibrous mats of PHBV-P(L-D,L)LA-PGS blends allowed penetration of WJ MSCs and improved cell proliferation. To obtain the 3D myocardial graft, the WJ MSCs were seeded on the mats, which were then wrapped around macroporous tubings. The 3D construct (4 mm x 3.5 cm x 2 mm) was incubated in a bioreactor and maintained the uniform distribution of aligned cells for 2 weeks. The positive effect of nutrient flow within the 3D structure was significant. This study represents an important step towards obtaining a thick, autologous myocardial patch, with structure similar to native tissue and capability to grow, for ventricular restoration.