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Engineering a naturally-derived adhesive and conductive cardiopatch


Myocardial infarction (MI) leads to a multi-phase reparative process at the site of damaged heart that ultimately results in the formation of non-conductive fibrous scar tissue. Despite the widespread use of electroconductive biomaterials to increase the physiological relevance of bioengineered cardiac tissues in vitro, there are still several limitations associated with engineering biocompatible scaffolds with appropriate mechanical properties and electroconductivity for cardiac tissue regeneration. Here, we introduce highly adhesive fibrous scaffolds engineered by electrospinning of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) followed by the conjugation of a choline-based bio-ionic liquid (Bio-IL) to develop conductive and adhesive cardiopatches. These GelMA/Bio-IL adhesive patches were optimized to exhibit mechanical and conductive properties similar to the native myocardium. Furthermore, the engineered patches strongly adhered to murine myocardium due to the formation of ionic bonding between the Bio-IL and native tissue, eliminating the need for suturing. Co-cultures of primary cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts grown on GelMA/Bio-IL patches exhibited comparatively better contractile profiles compared to pristine GelMA controls, as demonstrated by over-expression of the gap junction protein connexin 43. These cardiopatches could be used to provide mechanical support and restore electromechanical coupling at the site of MI to minimize cardiac remodeling and preserve normal cardiac function.

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