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 Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Disrupted fat breakdown in the brain makes mice dumb
19.05.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

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: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior

23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>