As an intervention to abrogate ischemic cardiomyopathy, the concept of applying a temporary, local patch to the surface of the recently infarcted ventricle has been explored from a number of design perspectives. Two important features considered for such a cardiac patch include the provision of appropriate mechanical support and the capacity to influence the remodeling pathway by providing cellular or biomolecule delivery. The objective of this report was to focus on these two features by first evaluating the incorporation of a cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) component, and second by evaluating the impact of patch anisotropy on the pathological remodeling process initiated by myocardial infarction. The functional outcomes of microfibrous, elastomeric, biodegradable cardiac patches have been evaluated in a rat chronic infarction model. Ten weeks after infarction and 8 wk after patch epicardial placement, echocardiographic function, tissue-level structural remodeling (e.g., biaxial mechanical response and microstructural analysis), and cellular level remodeling were assessed. The results showed that the incorporation of a cardiac ECM altered the progression of several keys aspects of maladaptive remodeling following myocardial infarction. This included decreasing LV global mechanical compliance, inhibiting echocardiographically-measured functional deterioration, mitigating scar formation and LV wall thinning, and promoting angiogenesis. In evaluating the impact of patch anisotropy, no effects from the altered patch mechanics were detected after 8 wk, possibly due to patch fibrous encapsulation. Overall, this study demonstrates the benefit of a cardiac patch design that combines both ventricle mechanical support, through a biodegradable, fibrillary elastomeric component, and the incorporation of ECM-based hydrogel components.
Keywords: Cardiac ECM; Cardiac patch; Electrospun scaffold; Structure - function.
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