Engineering human cardiac tissue is a promising solution for myocardial repair of injured hearts and for drug screening. Herein, we examined the capability of chemically defined alginate scaffolds to promote cardiac tissue regeneration from human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) in serum-free, chemically defined medium. The cells were single seeded or coseeded with human dermal fibroblasts (HFs) in macroporous scaffolds made from pristine alginate or alginate modified with arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD) peptide and heparin-binding peptide (HBP). Our results show that the addition of fibroblasts to the 3-D culture is indispensable for the formation of functional cardiac tissues and that the presence of RGD/HBP attached to the alginate matrix further improves its functionality. The engineered tissue displayed the typical fiber morphology with massive striation. An increase in contraction amplitude and calcium transients with time, together with a decrease in excitation threshold, indicated advancement toward tissue maturation. Our results thus point to the importance of co-cultivating fibroblasts with hESCs-CMs in chemically defined peptide-functionalized alginate scaffolds and culture medium for regenerating functional cardiac tissue in vitro.
- RGD/HBP-functionalized scaffold
- human embryonic stem cells
- tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Polymers and Plastics