Cardiomyogenic Differentiation of Human Bone Marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Spheroids within Electrospun Collagen Nanofiber Mats

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Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A


Collagen is the major structural protein in myocardium and contributes to tissue strength and integrity, cellular orientation, and cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Significant post-myocardial infarction related loss of cardiomyocytes and cardiac tissue, and their subsequent replacement with fibrous scar tissue, negatively impacts endogenous tissue repair and regeneration capabilities. To overcome such limitations, tissue engineers are working toward developing a 3D cardiac patch which not only mimics the structural, functional, and biological hierarchy of the native cardiac tissue, but also could deliver autologous stem cells and encourage their homing and differentiation. In this study, we examined the utility of electrospun, randomly-oriented, type-I collagen nanofiber (dia = 789 +/- 162 nm) mats on the cardiomyogenic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC) spheroids, in the presence or absence of 10 mu M 5-azacytidine (aza). Results showed that these scaffolds are biocompatible and enable time-dependent evolution of early (GATA binding protein 4: GATA4), late (cardiac troponin I: cTnI), and mature (myosin heavy chain: MHC) cardiomyogenic markers, with a simultaneous reduction in CD90 (stemness) expression, independent of aza-treatment. Aza-exposure improved connexin-4 expression and sustained sarcomeric alpha-actin expression, but provided only transient improvement in cardiac troponin T (cTnT) expression. Cell orientation and alignment significantly improved in these nanofiber scaffolds over time and with aza-exposure. Although further quantitative in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to establish the clinical applicability of such stem-cell laden collagen nanofiber mats as cardiac patches for cardiac tissue regeneration, our results underscore the benefits of 3D milieu provided by electrospun collagen nanofiber mats, aza, and spheroids on the survival, cardiac differentiation and maturation of human BM-MSCs.


Contract grant sponsor: Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems; contract grant number: 1337859

Contract grant sponsor: Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation; contract grant number: 1653329

Contract grant sponsor: Division of Materials Research; contract grant number: 1126126

Contract grant sponsor: NSF-DMR; contract grant number: 1126126

Contract grant sponsor: National Science Foundation; contract grant number: 1653329

Contract grant sponsor: NSF-CBET; contract grant number: 133785