APR 10, 2015 10:00 AM PDT

Researchers Grow Cardiac Tissue on 'Spider Silk' Substrate

WRITTEN BY: Judy O'Rourke
Genetically engineered fibers of the protein spidroin, which is the construction material for spider webs, has proven to be a perfect substrate for cultivating heart tissue cells, researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have found.

The cultivation of organs and tissues from a patient's cells is the bleeding edge of medical research - regenerative methods can solve the problem of transplant rejection. However, it's quite a challenge to find a suitable frame, or substrate, to grow cells on.
These are heart tissue cells grown on a matrix, stained with fluorescent markers.
The material should be nontoxic, elastic, and should not be rejected by the body or impede cell growth.

A group of researchers led by professor Konstantin Agladze, who heads the Laboratory of the Biophysics of Excitable Systems, works on cardiac tissue engineering. They have been cultivating fully functional cardiac tissues, able to contract and conduct excitation waves, from cells called cardiomyocytes.

Previously, the group used synthetic polymeric nanofibers but recently decided to assay another material - electrospunfibers of spidroin, the cobweb protein. Cobweb strands are incredibly light and durable. They're five times stronger than steel, two times more elastic than nylon, and are capable of stretching a third of their length. The structure of spidroin molecules that make up cobweb drag lines is similar to that of the silk protein, fibroin, but is much more durable.

Researchers would normally use artificial spidroin fiber matrices as a substrate to grow implants such as bones, tendons, and cartilages, and also, dressings. Agladze's team decided to find out whether a spidroin substrate derived from genetically modified yeast cells can serve to grow cardiac cells.

"Cardiac tissue cells successfully adhere to the substrate of recombinant spidroin; they grow forming layers and are fully functional, which means they can contract coordinately," Agladze says.

The researchers discuss their findings in a recent article, "Functional Analysis of the Engineered Cardiac Tissue Grown on Recombinant Spidroin Fiber Meshes," in the journal PLOS ONE.

[Source: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology]
About the Author
  • Judy O'Rourke worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming chief editor of Clinical Lab Products magazine. As a freelance writer today, she is interested in finding the story behind the latest developments in medicine and science, and in learning what lies ahead.
You May Also Like
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
The Female Athlete Triad
The Female Athlete Triad is a combination of three interconnected health issues. The three components are energy deficiency, menstrual disturbances (amenor...
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
Female Athletes Forced To Suppress Natural Hormone Levels To Compete
Tests exist today that could easily determine if a female were introducing synthetic testosterone into their system in hopes of enhancing performance. Rega...
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
Soda Taxes Reduce Consumption
We know that over-consuming sugary drinks is not good for us. Regardless many of us still struggle to fight off that urge. In 2010 Coca-Cola sold over 900...
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
Beyond Annoying, Noise Is Bad For Your Health
Peace and quiet are hard to come by these days. Cities are rife with noise pollution from a significant number of sources. Everything from automotive traff...
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
Denying Woman Abortions Results In Long Lasting Consequences
Previous studies have shown that women who are denied access to abortion face threats to their mental health. It’s also possible that forced motherho...
AUG 21, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 21, 2019
Shocking Numbers Of People Self-Prescribing Daily Aspirin
Up until recently, people who were concerned about the possibility of suffering a cardiac event were often advised to take low-dose aspirin daily. Because ...
Loading Comments...