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 New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Chances to treat childhood dementia
24.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>