Electromechanical integration of co-cultured cells for cardiac repair
Michael Q. Chen, L. Giovangrandi, R. Hollis Whittington and Gregory T.A. Kovacs
Electrical Engineering Department, Integrated Circuits Lab, Stanford University
By analyzing co-cultured cardiomyocytes, this project seeks to understand (1) how different cell cultures individually proliferate across a surface area and how that changes with contact with another culture; (2) the quantity, rate, and location at which gap junctions form between two cultures in direct contact; and (3) the electrical conductivity between two cultures.
Ultimately, understanding these characteristics will permit better functional integration of differentiated cardiomyocytes from embryonic stem cells onto cardiac tissue for more effective regeneration and repair.
A device was created that is able to separate two cell cultures and then allow them functionally integrate at a defined time. This integration is monitored electrically by applying the cell cultures to a flexible polyimide-based microelectrode array (flex-MEA) previously developed in our laboratory. The main area of interest is the nature of the propagation between the two cultures, and the time-evolution of electrical communication and propagation between cultures. The conduction velocities and uniformity at the culture interface are especially important, as they will indicate anisotropic behaviors or conduction blocks.