Mechanically and Electrically Enhanced CNT–Collagen Hydrogels As Potential Scaffolds for Engineered Cardiac Constructs

With the development of biomimetic scaffolds for engineered cardiac constructs, a considerable number of biomaterials has been evaluated. However, in most previously reported cardiac constructs, the function of the cardiomyocytes (CMs) is restricted because of mismatches in the mechanics, conductivity, and submicrometer structure of the matrix. In this work, type I collagen hydrogels were combined with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to assess potential improvements in hydrogel strength and conductivity and potential effects on the hydrogel structure. CMs seeded within the CNT–collagen hybrid hydrogels showed improved cardiac cell functions compared to those within pure collagen hydrogels, which suggested great promise of CNT–collagen hydrogels as functional scaffold materials for cardiac construct engineering.