The significance of pore microarchitecture in a multi-layered elastomeric scaffold for contractile cardiac muscle constructs
Multi-layered poly(glycerol-sebacate) (PGS) scaffolds with controlled pore microarchitectures were fabricated, combined with heart cells, and cultured with perfusion to engineer contractile cardiac muscle constructs. First, one-layered (1L) scaffolds with accordion-like honeycomb shaped pores and elastomeric mechanical properties were fabricated by laser microablation of PGS membranes. Second, two-layered (2L) scaffolds with fully interconnected three dimensional pore networks were fabricated by oxygen plasma treatment of 1L scaffolds followed by stacking with off-set laminae to produce a tightly bonded composite. Third, heart cells were cultured on scaffolds with or without interstitial perfusion for 7 days. The laser-microablated PGS scaffolds exhibited ultimate tensile strength and strain-to-failure higher than normal adult rat left ventricular myocardium, and effective stiffnesses ranging from 220 to 290 kPa. The 7-day constructs contracted in response to electrical field stimulation. Excitation thresholds were unaffected by scaffold scale up from 1L to 2L. The 2L constructs exhibited reduced apoptosis, increased expression of connexin-43 (Cx-43) and matrix metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2) genes, and increased Cx-43 and cardiac troponin-I proteins when cultured with perfusion as compared to static controls. Together, these findings suggest that multi-layered, microfabricated PGS scaffolds may be applicable to myocardial repair applications requiring mechanical support, cell delivery and active implant contractility.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 32, Issue 7, March 2011, Pages 1856–1864