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Design of Electrospun Hydrogel Fibers Containing Multivalent Peptide Conjugates for Cardiac Tissue Engineering

  • Author(s): Rode, Nikhil Ajit
  • Advisor(s): Healy, Kevin E
  • et al.
Abstract

A novel material was designed using biomimetic engineering principles to recreate the chemical and physical environment of the extracellular matrix for cardiac tissue engineering applications. In order to control the chemical and specific bioactive signals provided by the material, a multivalent conjugate of a RGD-containing cell-binding peptide with hyaluronic acid was synthesized. These conjugates were characterized using in-line size exclusion chromatography with static multi-angle light scattering, UV absorbance, and differential refractive index measurements (SEC-MALS-UV-RI) to determine their molecular weight and valency, as well as the distributions of each. These conjugates were electrospun with poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate to create a nanofibrous hydrogel material embedded with bioinstructive macromolecules. This electrospinning process was explored and optimized to create well-formed nanofibers. The diameter and orientation of the fibers was controlled to closely mimic the nanostructure of the extracellular matrix of the myocardium. Further characterization of the material was performed to ensure that its mechanical properties resemble those found in the myocardium. The availability of the peptides embedded in the hydrogel material was confirmed by measuring peptides released by trypsin incubation and was found to be sufficient to cause cell adhesion. This material was capable of supporting cell culture, maintaining the viability of cultured fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes, and preserving cardiomyocyte functionality. In this way, this material shows promise of serving as a biomimetic in vitro scaffold for generation of functional myocardial tissue, with possible applications as an in vivo cardiac patch for repair of the damage myocardium post-myocardial infarction.

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