Development of a 3D Printed Conductive Biopolymer for Cardiac Tissue Engineering
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the US, with approximately 859,000 deaths each year. The major contributor to CVD is Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), which causes the death of approximately 25% of the cardiomyocytes present in the left ventricle of the heart. After AMI, the adult human heart has a very limited regenerative capacity. Moreover, the electrical propagation of the myocardium is severely disrupted, making the heart more susceptible to failure and patient death. However, current pharmacological treatments do not address the loss of cardiomyocytes and the disruption of electrical propagation in the heart. Tissue engineering provides a potential solution to regenerate damaged myocardium using biomaterials as a scaffold to re-introduce healthy cardiomyocytes to the heart. To achieve this, an electrically conductive polymer that is biocompatible would promote cardiomyocyte viability, lineage-specific function, and tissue-specific organization while helping to re-establish the electrical propagation of native myocardium. Additionally, incorporation of patient-specific cardiomyocytes and automated, rapid manufacturing techniques would improve clinical translation of these engineered tissues for repair of damaged myocardium. To address these issues, my work aims to develop an electrically conductive and 3D printable hydrogel composed of a novel thiophene-conjugated, photocurable Methacrylated Hyaluronic Acid (MeHA). Thiophene has been shown to be chemically stable, biocompatible and an excellent conductor, while MeHA is a chemically versatile, hydrophilic, and biocompatible hydrogel that is ideal for this application. The goal of this project was to develop a novel biomaterial that is electrically conductive, biocompatible, and can be processed with 3D stereolithography printing. The hypothesis of my project is that by combining photocurable MeHA hydrogel, with 3-Thiopheneacetic Acid (3TAA), a 3D printable conductive biopolymer can be developed for use in cardiac tissue engineering applications. The overall approach for my work was completed in three aims: 1) Materials characterization and biocompatibility testing of a 3D SLA printed polymer, 2) Development of a photocurable conductive hyaluronic acid-based polymer for cardiac tissue engineering using thiophene as a conductor, and 3) Optimization of photopolymerization of conductive biopolymer for 3D SLA printing of myocardial tissue models.
Materials science|Biomedical engineering|Bioengineering|Engineering
Stark, Britanny L, "Development of a 3D Printed Conductive Biopolymer for Cardiac Tissue Engineering" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30988228.