Cardiac tissues are able to adjust their contractile behavior to adapt to the local mechanical environment. Nonuniformity of the native tissue mechanical properties contributes to the development of heart dysfunctions, yet the current in vitro cardiac tissue models often fail to recapitulate the mechanical nonuniformity. To address this issue, a 3D cardiac microtissue model is developed with engineered mechanical nonuniformity, enabled by 3D-printed hybrid matrices composed of fibers with different diameters. When escalating the complexity of tissue mechanical environments, cardiac microtissues start to develop maladaptive hypercontractile phenotypes, demonstrated in both contractile motion analysis and force-power analysis. This novel hybrid system could potentially facilitate the establishment of "pathologically-inspired" cardiac microtissue models for deeper understanding of heart pathology due to nonuniformity of the tissue mechanical environment.
Keywords: 3D cardiac tissue models; 3D-printed microtissues, cardiac tissue models; hybrid biomaterial scaffolds; tissue mechanical environments.
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