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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2013 Apr;101(4):1095-102. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34400. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Novel injectable biomimetic hydrogels with carbon nanofibers and self assembled rosette nanotubes for myocardial applications.

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Department of Chemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


The objective of the present in vitro study was to investigate cardiomyocyte functions, specifically their adhesion and proliferation, on injectable scaffolds containing RNT (rosette nanotubes) and CNF (carbon nanofibers) in a pHEMA (poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)) hydrogel to determine their potential for myocardial tissue engineering applications. RNTs are novel biocompatible nanomaterials assembled from synthetic analogs of DNA bases guanine and cytosine that self-assemble within minutes when placed in aqueous solutions at body temperatures. These materials could potentially improve cardiomyocyte functions and solidification time of pHEMA and CNF composites. Because heart tissue is conductive, CNFs were added to pHEMA to increase the composite's conductivity. Our results showed that cardiomyocyte density increased after 4 h, 1 day, and 3 days with greater amounts of CNFs and greater amounts of RNTs in pHEMA (up to 10 mg mL(-1) CNFs and 0.05 mg mL(-1) RNTs). Factors that may have increased cardiomyocyte functions include greater wettability, conductivity, and an increase in surface nanoroughness with greater amounts of CNFs and RNTs. In effect, contact angles measured on the surface of the composites decreased while the conductivity and surface roughness increased as CNFs and RNTs content increased. Lastly, the ultimate tensile modulus decreased for composites with greater amounts of CNFs. In summary, the properties of these injectable composites make them promising candidates for myocardial tissue engineering applications and should be further studied.

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