A new study has shown that gold nanowires can engineer cardiac patches, with cells all beating in time, which could help heart attack patients in future.
A team of physicians, engineers and materials scientists at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the addition of gold wires to the engineered heart tissue makes it electrically conductive, potentially improving on existing cardiac patches.
“If you don’t have the gold nanowires, and you stimulate the cardiac patch with an electrode, the cells will beat only right where you’re stimulating,” said senior investigator Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, of the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Children’s Hospital Boston.
“With the nanowires, you see a lot of cells contracting together, even when the stimulation is far away. That shows the tissue is conducting,” he added.
After incubation, the patches studded with the gold nanowires were thicker and their heart muscle cells better organized.
Even when they were stimulated with an electrical current, the cells carried out electrical communication between adjacent bundles of cardiac cells in a better way than the patches lacking the wires.
The report was published online in Nature Nanotechnology.