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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2014 Oct;102(7):1553-61. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33136. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Polycaprolactone-thiophene-conjugated carbon nanotube meshes as scaffolds for cardiac progenitor cells.

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Integrative Regenerative Medicine (IGEN) Centre and Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.


The myocardium is unable to regenerate itself after infarct, resulting in scarring and thinning of the heart wall. Our objective was to develop a patch to buttress and bypass the scarred area, while allowing regeneration by incorporated cardiac stem/progenitor cells (CPCs). Polycaprolactone (PCL) was fabricated as both sheets by solvent casting, and fibrous meshes by electrospinning, as potential patches, to determine the role of topology in proliferation and phenotypic changes to the CPCs. Thiophene-conjugated carbon nanotubes (T-CNTs) were incorporated to enhance the mechanical strength. We showed that freshly isolated CPCs from murine hearts neither attached nor spread on the PCL sheets, both with and without T-CNT. As electrospun meshes, however, both PCL and PCL/T-CNT supported CPC adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. The incorporation of T-CNT into PCL resulted in a significant increase in mechanical strength but no morphological changes to the meshes. In turn, proliferation, but not differentiation, of CPCs into cardiomyocytes was enhanced in T-CNT containing meshes. We have shown that changing the topology of PCL, a known hydrophobic material, dramatically altered its properties, in this case, allowing CPCs to survive and differentiate. With further development, PCL/T-CNT meshes or similar patches may become a viable strategy to aid restoration of the postmyocardial infarction myocardium.


carbon nanotubes, polycaprolactone; cardiac progenitor cells; electrospun meshes; topology

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