A Three-Dimensional Engineered Cardiac In Vitro Model: Controlled Alignment of Cardiomyocytes in 3D Microphysiological Systems
Cardiomyocyte alignment in myocardium tissue plays a significant role in the physiological, electrical, and mechanical functions of the myocardium. It remains, however, difficult to align cardiac cells in a 3D in vitro heart model. This paper proposes a simple method to align cells using microfabricated Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) grooves with large dimensions (of up to 350 m in width), similar to the dimensions of trabeculae carneae, the smallest functional unit of the myocardium. Two cell groups were used in this work; first, H9c2 cells in combination with Nor10 cells for proof of concept, and second, neonatal cardiac cells to investigate the functionality of the 3D model. This model compared the patterned and nonpatterned 3D constructs, as well as the 2D cell cultures, with and without patterns. In addition to alignment, we assessed the functionality of our proposed 3D model by comparing beating rates between aligned and non-aligned structures. In order to assess the practicality of the model, the 3D aligned structures should be demonstrated to be detachable and alignable. This evaluation is crucial to the use of this 3D functional model in future studies related to drug screening, building blocks for tissue engineering, and as a heart-on-chip by integrating microfluidics.
Cells 2023, 12, 576