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Acta Biomater. 2007 Jan;3(1):33-41. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Matrix stiffness affects spontaneous contraction of cardiomyocytes cultured within a PEGylated fibrinogen biomaterial.

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  • 1Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Technion City, Haifa 32000, Israel.


Successful implementation of cardiac cell transplantation for treating damaged myocardium relies on the development of improved injectable biomaterials. A novel biomaterial technology using PEGylated fibrinogen has been developed with controllable physicochemical properties based on the poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) constituent. In addition, the fibrinogen backbone of the material confers inherent bioactivity to cells. The purpose of this investigation was to explore by in vitro techniques the use of this biomaterial as a scaffold for cardiac tissue regeneration. To this end neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were cultivated in PEGylated fibrinogen constructs. The cell-seeding density and biomaterial composition were optimized to obtain maximum spontaneous contraction of the constructs. Quantitative characterization of the contraction pattern was accomplished by video image analysis. It was possible to demonstrate an inverse correlation between the material stiffness and the amplitude of contraction of the tissue constructs by changing the modulus of the matrix using different compositions of PEG and fibrinogen. The relationship between matrix stiffness, cell density and tissue contraction also provided some insight into the mechanism of cellular remodeling that ultimately leads to synchronized contraction of the constructs. These findings indicate that PEGylated fibrinogen hydrogels can be used as a scaffold for cardiomyocytes, and offer the possibility of controlling cellular remodeling via simple compositional modifications to the matrix.

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