Capturing cardiac extracellular matrix components with supramolecular biomaterials


Endogenous cardiomyocyte progenitor cells (CMPCs) have the potential to regenerate cardiac tissue and restore cardiac function after a myocardial infarction. To further improve cardiac regeneration, injectable biomaterials can be either encapsulated with CMPCs to improve cell engraftment or injected with CMPC-homing factors to improve recruitment of endogenous CMPCs. By mimicking cell-ECM interactions in an injectable biomaterial, a natural cardiac microenvironment is created which improves cardiac regeneration. Therefore, synthetically based biomaterials are increasingly used for the incorporation of specific cell-ECM interactions which can guide CMPCs to regenerate cardiac tissue.

An interesting method to introduce synthetically based cell-ECM interactions is the use of supramolecular biomaterials based on ureido-pyrimidinone (UPy) functionalities. UPy-based supramolecular biomaterials allow for the modular incorporation of specific functionalities. Therefore, the focus of this study is on the production and capturing of CMPC-secreted ECM using UPy-based supramolecular biomaterials. ECM capturing is studied in 3D hydrogels via quantification of specific ECM components at gene and protein level. In parallel, CMPCs are cultured on 2D surfaces modified with specific UPy-functionalities and ECM component production and capturing is studied. Finally, the 3D hydrogel is modified with UPy-functionalities to increase ECM capturing and functional tissue formation. By employing the modular potential of UPy-based hydrogels, it is proposed that via capturing of  ECM component the CMPC viability and functional tissue formation is increased following injection in the myocardium.


Researcher: S. (Sergio) Spaans.
Supervisors: C.V.C. (Carlijn)  Bouten, P.Y.W. (Patricia) Dankers, N.A.M. (Noortje) Bax.

Funding by TU/e Impuls project 'CRE@TE'.