Modulating cardiomyocyte and fibroblast interaction using layer-by-layer deposition facilitates synchronisation of cardiac macro tissues†
Maturation and synchronisation of heart cells, including cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts, are essential to develop functional biomimetic cardiac tissues for regenerative medicine and drug discovery. Synchronisation of cells in the biomimetic cardiac tissue requires the structural integrity and functional maturation of cardiomyocytes with other cell types. However, it is challenging to synchronise the beating of macroscale cardiac tissues and induce maturation of cardiomyocytes derived from stem cells. Here, we developed a simple assembly technology to modulate cell–cell interactions by combining layer-by-layer (LBL) deposition and centrifugation of cells with collagen type I to control cell–cell interactions for the preparation of cardiac macro tissues (CMTs). We found that maturation of cardiomyocytes in CMTs was largely enhanced by growth factors FGF-4 and ascorbic acid, but synchronisation of cardiac beating required LBL deposition of cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts in addition to the growth factors during the maturation process. Our findings have important implications because incorporation of cardiac fibroblasts into the cardiomyocyte layer is a prerequisite for synchronised beating of macroscale cardiac tissues in addition to growth factors to facilitate maturation of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.