Development of Light-Responsive Liquid Crystalline Elastomers to Assist Cardiac Contraction

Anno: 2019

Autori: Ferrantini C., Pioner JM., Martella D., Coppini R., Piroddi N., Paoli P., Calamai M., Pavone FS., Wiersma DS., Tesi C., Cerbai E., Poggesi C., Sacconi L., Parmeggiani C.

Affiliazione autori: Univ Florence, Dept Expt & Clin Med, Largo Brambilla 3, I-50134 Florence, Italy; Univ Florence, Dept Chem Ugo Schiff, Florence, Italy; Univ Florence, Dept Neurosci Psychol Drug Res & Child Hlth NEURO, Florence, Italy; Univ Florence, Dept Phys & Astron, Florence, Italy; European Lab Nonlinear Spect, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; CNR, Natl Inst Opt, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; Dept Biochem Expt & Clin Mario Serio, Florence, Italy; Ist Nazl Ric Metrol INRiM, Turin, Italy

Abstract: Rationale: Despite major advances in cardiovascular medicine, heart disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. However, the field of tissue engineering has been growing exponentially in the last decade and restoring heart functionality is now an affordable target; yet, new materials are still needed for effectively provide rapid and long-lasting interventions. Liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs) are biocompatible polymers able to reversibly change shape in response to a given stimulus and generate movement. Once stimulated, LCEs can produce tension or movement like a muscle. However, so far their application in biology was limited by slow response times and a modest possibility to modulate tension levels during activation.

Objective: To develop suitable LCE-based materials to assist cardiac contraction.

Methods and Results: Thanks to a quick, simple, and versatile synthetic approach, a palette of biocompatible acrylate-based light-responsive LCEs with different molecular composition was prepared and mechanically characterized. Out of this, the more compliant one was selected. This material was able to contract for some weeks when activated with very low light intensity within a physiological environment. Its contraction was modulated in terms of light intensity, stimulation frequency, and t(on)/t(off) ratio to fit different contraction amplitude/time courses, including those of the human heart. Finally, LCE strips were mounted in parallel with cardiac trabeculae, and we demonstrated their ability to improve muscular systolic function, with no impact on diastolic properties.

Conclusions: Our results indicated LCEs are promising in assisting cardiac mechanical function and developing a new generation of contraction assist devices.


Volume: 124 (8)      Da Pagina: E44  A: E54

Maggiori informazioni: The research leading to these results has received funding from Laserlab-Europe EU-H2020 654148; from Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (2017/0713, 2015/0782, 2015/0891 and 2014/0410), Fondazione Telethon (grant GGP16191). This research project has been also supported by FAS-Salute ToRSADE project and by MIUR in the framework of the flagship project NanoMAX and by the Italian Ministry of Health (WFR GR-2011-02350583).
Parole chiavi: elastomers; mechanics; muscle contraction; physiology; tissue engineering
DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313889

Citazioni: 43
dati da “WEB OF SCIENCE” (of Thomson Reuters) aggiornati al: 2024-05-26
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