Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioengineered, rhythmically beating heart muscle could aid cardiac research

05.08.2002


The collaboration between cardiologist and orthopedist may at first seem novel, if not odd. But just such an interdisciplinary connection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has yielded potentially useful fruit: a bioengineered, rhythmically beating experimental model of heart muscle.



The new model system is a bioartificial trabeculum, or BAT. Trabecula are thin sections of cardiac tissue within the inner surface of the heart’s main pumping chambers. Although still some distance away from any human clinical application, the model could prove a valuable scientific tool for exploring cardiac disease, including electrical and mechanical disturbances of the heart.

Details of the heart tissue model are being presented Monday (Aug. 5) to the World Congress of Biomechanics in Calgary, Canada.


"The purpose of our study was to explore the possibility that one could take isolated heart cells and under proper conditions allow them to coalesce and attach to each other in a functional way, thereby creating an artificial tissue," said cardiologist and co-developer Dr. Wayne E. Cascio, associate professor of medicine at UNC.

Cascio said the idea for the BAT originated with a biomedical engineering lecture by Dr. Albert J. Banes, UNC professor of orthopedics. Banes had spoken about his work on the development artificial tendons. Through a company he founded 18 years ago, Flexcell International in Hillsborough, N.C., Banes had developed a special tissue plate that has proven a useful framework in which cells in a liquid collagen gel could remodel on their own to form a more tissue-like structure. Other work elsewhere has involved rigid structures or lattices upon which cells attach to and grow.

"The fundamental basis for that company was a flexible bottom culture plate with the thought that all cells in tissues in our body are subjected to some forms of mechanical load, cyclic tension being one of them," Banes said. "We thought it would be better to grow cells in a dynamic environment, on a flexible substrate. We could then stretch the tissue cells in a certain way to simulate the effects of mechanical loads on tendon, muscle bone, ligament, and cartilage and also add the shear stress that occurs during fluid flow in blood vessels. Dr. Cascio very astutely thought we could grow cardiac myocytes and make a cardiac muscle tissue-like material to test in culture. And that’s where the collaboration began." In developing the tissue model, Cascio and his laboratory assistant Joseph Brackhan, isolated cardiac myocytes from one-day-old rats.

These were mixed in a solution of collagen and serum and allowed to gel under incubation in a Flexcell Tissue Train Plate. (See link to illustration at bottom of release.) The tissue train plates have two nylon tethers at opposite ends of each well and a flexible silicon rubber bottom. After four days in culture, the heart cells migrated toward the center of the gel to form a dense cord of tissue that extended between the two tethers.

The tissue strand rhythmically contracts at 100 beats per minute, easily observed with a low-power microscope. Tests reveal striations characteristic of cardiac tissue and cell-to-cell coupling also characteristic of cardiac tissue.

The team’s long-term goals are to apply this system to study the effects of mechanical loading on normal cardiac physiology and to develop a model system for the study of cardiac illnesses such as congestive heart failure.

"In my lab, we’re specifically interested in generating cardiac myocytes with certain electrical or contractile properties by manipulating the genetics of the cells and then re-forming them into functional tissue to assess their properties," Cascio said. He added that some researchers might view this model as a means to generate tissue patches that might be applied to the surface of the heart or to incorporate into a diseased heart - cardiomyoplasty, a kind of cardiac plastic surgery. "But this would be a very early stage of such an approach," he said.


Note: Contact Cascio at (919) 843-5217 or wcascio@med.unc.edu.
Contact Banes at (919) 966-2566 or Ajbvault@med.unc.edu.

To view an illustration of the tissue model, go to www.unc.edu/news/newsserv/pics/bioartificalheart.jpg

Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu/news/newsserv/pics/bioartificalheart.jpg
http://www.med.unc.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>