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      A π-π conjugation-containing soft and conductive injectable polymer hydrogel highly efficiently rebuilds cardiac function after myocardial infarction.

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          Abstract

          Previous studies suggested that a stiffer hydrogel system exhibited a better performance to promote heart function after myocardial infarction (MI). However, the nature of myocardium, a tissue that alternately contracts and relaxes with electrical impulses, leads us to hypothesize that a soft and conductive hydrogel may be in favor of mechanical and electrical signals transmission to enhance heart function after MI. In this work, π-π conjugation interaction was first employed to produce a soft injectable hydrogel with conductive property. Melamine with π-π conjugation ring was used as a core to synthesize a multi-armed crosslinker PEGDA700-Melamine (PEG-MEL), which could crosslink with thiol-modified hyaluronic acid (HA-SH) to form an injectable hydrogel rapidly. By incorporating graphene oxide (GO), the injectable PEG-MEL/HA-SH/GO hydrogel exhibited a soft (G' = 25 Pa) and anti-fatigue mechanical property and conductive property (G = 2.84 × 10-4 S/cm). The hydrogel encapsulating adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ADSCs) was injected into MI area of rats. The significant increase in α-Smooth Muscle Actin (α-SMA) and Connexin 43 (Cx43) expression confirmed that the gel efficiently promoted the transmission of mechanical and electrical signals. Meanwhile, a significant improvement of heart functions, such as distinct increase of ejection fraction (EF), smaller infarction size, less fibrosis area, and higher vessel density, was achieved.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Biomaterials
          Biomaterials
          Elsevier BV
          1878-5905
          0142-9612
          April 2017
          : 122
          Affiliations
          [1 ] School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China.
          [2 ] School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China. Electronic address: wwgfz@tju.edu.cn.
          [3 ] School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China. Electronic address: wgliu@tju.edu.cn.
          Article
          S0142-9612(17)30020-0
          10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.01.012
          28107665

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