A multilayered scaffold of a chitosan and gelatin hydrogel supported by a PCL core for cardiac tissue engineering
Pok, Seokwon; Myers, Jackson D.; Madihally, Sundararajan V.; Jacot, Jeffrey G.
A three-dimensional scaffold composed of self-assembled polycaprolactone (PCL) sandwiched in a gelatin–chitosan hydrogel was developed for use as a biodegradable patch with a potential for surgical reconstruction of congenital heart defects. The PCL core provides surgical handling, suturability and high initial tensile strength, while the gelatin–chitosan scaffold allows for cell attachment, with pore size and mechanical properties conducive to cardiomyocyte migration and function. The ultimate tensile stress of the PCL core, made from blends of 10, 46 and 80 kDa (Mn) PCL, was controllable in the range of 2–4 MPa, with lower average molecular weight PCL blends correlating with lower tensile stress. Blends with lower molecular weight PCL also had faster degradation (controllable from 0% to 7% weight loss in saline over 30 days) and larger pores. PCL scaffolds supporting a gelatin–chitosan emulsion gel showed no significant alteration in tensile stress, strain or tensile modulus. However, the compressive modulus of the composite tissue was similar to that of native tissue (∼15 kPa for 50% gelatin and 50% chitosan). Electron microscopy revealed that the gelatin–chitosan gel had a three-dimensional porous structure, with a mean pore diameter of ∼80 μm, showed migration of neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM), maintained NRVM viability for over 7 days, and resulted in spontaneously beating scaffolds. This multi-layered scaffold has sufficient tensile strength and surgical handling for use as a cardiac patch, while allowing migration or pre-loading of cardiac cells in a biomimetic environment to allow for eventual degradation of the patch and incorporation into native tissue.