Ischemic cardiomyopathy poses a significant public health burden due to the irreversible loss of functional cardiac tissue. Alternative treatment strategies include creation of three-dimensional (3D) cardiac tissues to both replace and augment injured native tissue. In this study, we utilize a net mold-based method to create a biomaterial-free 3D cardiac tissue and compare it to current methods using biomaterials. Cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells were combined using a hanging drop method to create spheroids. For the net mold patch method, spheroids were seeded into a net mold-based system to create biomaterial-free 3D cardiac patches. For the gel patch, spheroids were embedded in a collagen gel. Immunohistochemistry revealed increased alignment, vascularization, collagen I expression, cell viability, and higher density of cells in the net mold patch compared with the gel patch. Furthermore, in vivo testing in a left anterior descending artery ligation rat model found increased ejection fraction and smaller scar area following implantation of the net mold patch. We present a novel and simple reproducible method to create biomaterial-free 3D net mold patches that may potentially improve the treatment of heart failure in the future.
Keywords: cardiac tissue engineering; hanging drop spheroids; heart failure; mold-based method.