Department of Biomedical Engineering
Due to the limited regenerative capabilities of cardiomyocytes, incidents of myocardial infarction can cause permanent damage to native myocardium through the formation of acellular, non-conductive scar tissue during wound repair. The generation of scar tissue in the myocardium compromises the biomechanical and electrical properties of the heart which can lead to further cardiac problems including heart failure. Currently, patients suffering from cardiac failure due to scarring undergo transplantation but limited donor availability and complications (i.e., rejection or infectious pathogens) exclude many individuals from successful transplant. Polymeric tissue engineering scaffolds provide an alternative approach to restore normal myocardium structure and function after damage by acting as a provisional matrix to support cell attachment, infiltration and stem cell delivery. However, issues associated with mechanical property mismatch and the limited electrical conductivity of these constructs when compared to native myocardium reduces their clinical applicability. Therefore, composite polymeric scaffolds with conductive reinforcement components (i.e., metal, carbon, or conductive polymers) provide tunable mechanical and electroactive properties to mimic the structure and function of natural myocardium in force transmission and electrical stimulation. This review summarizes recent advancements in the design, synthesis, and implementation of electroactive polymeric composites to better match the biomechanical and electrical properties of myocardial tissue.
Electroactive polymeric composites to mimic the electromechanical properties of myocardium in cardiac tissue repair.
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