Scientists developed engineered constructs to support growth and differentiation of electrically responsive cells for tissue reconstruction and healing. However, there is an unmet need for multifunctional constructs that would simultaneously provide more than one stimuli for cell regeneration. The goal of the EU-funded MULTIFUN CP (Multifunctional conducting polymer devices for electroresponsive cell regeneration) project was to develop conductive scaffolds as multifunctional platforms to support electrically responsive cell regeneration. Project development steps included design of the scaffolds with the appropriate chemical modification for cell attachment and the assessment of cell proliferation under electrical stimulation. Researchers created three different conductive scaffolds: a bilayer polyaniline (PANI) film, a functionalised poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (f-PEDOT) foam and a 3D-f-PEDOT hydrogel. Chemical polymerisation of PANI on the surface of prefabricated chitosan films resulted in a free-standing conductive film. This approach provided electrical stability in the films during incubation in physiological conditions over extended periods (~30 days). Researchers tested this bilayer film ex-vivo as a patch for myocardium infarction treatment. The conductive patch demonstrated promising results in lowering the arrhythmia in the heart after infarction. Scientists developed f-PEDOT foam by crosslinking the functionalised PEDOT to gelatin foam using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide. F-PEDOT foam based scaffolds showed good biocompatibility in experiments with chondrocytes in 3D structures. 3D-f-PEDOT hydrogel demonstrated remarkable electro activity in physiological conditions. C2C12 muscle cells could attach to the scaffold without any additional protein coating actively proliferating after seven days of culture. Moreover, the porous structure of the hydrogel supported cell viability and infiltration into the matrix. Importantly, MULTIFUN CP demonstrated great potential for the application of the PANI film in cardiac regeneration. Heart failure is an enormous social burden and the fabrication of the patch might provide an easy and inexpensive solution.
Regeneration, PANI, f-PEDOT, myocardium infarction, conductive patch