Engineering of an Electroconductive Nanostructured Gelatin-based Cardiac Patch


Ebrahim Mostafavi


Ebrahim Mostafavi, Thomas J. Webster

Author Affiliation: 

Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA, 02115


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the USA and costs $300 billion per year. Myocardial infarction (MI or heart attacks) is currently one of the most frequent types of CVD in the world. Among diverse technologies for rebuilding the infarcted myocardium, cardiac patches can adequately and simultaneously meet the biochemical, electrical and mechanical demands of the native heart tissue to promote regeneration following MI. Here, we first engineer a gelatin-based porous scaffold by electrospinning technique. We will then incorporate graphene nanofibers (GNFs) to the acellular porous matrices to fabricate a conductive electrospun composite scaffold. The effects of GNFs on physical properties (such as mechanical properties, degradation, swelling, surface energy, etc.), electrical conductivity and in vitro cytocompatibility of the scaffolds will then be evaluated. Incorporation of GNFs can bridge the electrically resistant pore walls of the matrices, to support and facilitate the internal electrical interactions between adjacent CMs. Additionally, we will align GNFs according to the electrospinning direction to produce a scaffold that can mimic the shape and orientation of CMs in natural myocardial tissue. In the next step, some epicardial-secreted factors such as paracrine factors and proteins will be incorporated into the conductive patches obtained from the previous stage, with the aim of promoting the myocardial regeneration. It is expected that the integration of conductive GNFs and epicardial factors within 3D scaffolds may improve the therapeutic value of current cardiac patches and will open new avenues for engineering cardiac tissues.