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Carbon nanotube-incorporated collagen hydrogels improve cell alignment and the performance of cardiac constructs

Authors Sun HY, Zhou J, Huang Z, Qu LL, Lin N, Liang CX, Dai RW, Tang LJ, Tian FZ

Received 17 November 2016

Accepted for publication 14 February 2017

Published 13 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3109—3120


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Hongyu Sun,* Jing Zhou,* Zhu Huang,* Linlin Qu,* Ning Lin,* Chengxiao Liang, Ruiwu Dai, Lijun Tang, Fuzhou Tian

General Surgery Center, Chengdu Military General Hospital, Chengdu, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) provide an essential 2-D microenvironment for cardiomyocyte growth and function. However, it remains to be elucidated whether CNT nanostructures can promote cell–cell integrity and facilitate the formation of functional tissues in 3-D hydrogels. Here, single-walled CNTs were incorporated into collagen hydrogels to fabricate (CNT/Col) hydrogels, which improved mechanical and electrical properties. The incorporation of CNTs (up to 1 wt%) exhibited no toxicity to cardiomyocytes and enhanced cell adhesion and elongation. Through the use of immunohistochemical staining, transmission electron microscopy, and intracellular calcium-transient measurement, the incorporation of CNTs was found to improve cell alignment and assembly remarkably, which led to the formation of engineered cardiac tissues with stronger contraction potential. Importantly, cardiac tissues based on CNT/Col hydrogels were noted to have better functionality. Collectively, the incorporation of CNTs into the Col hydrogels improved cell alignment and the performance of cardiac constructs. Our study suggests that CNT/Col hydrogels offer a promising tissue scaffold for cardiac constructs, and might serve as injectable biomaterials to deliver cell or drug molecules for cardiac regeneration following myocardial infarction in the near future.

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, collagen hydrogel, cardiac constructs, cell alignment, tissue functionality

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