Albumin fiber scaffolds for engineering functional cardiac tissues

Sharon Fleischer, Assaf Shapira, Omri Regev, Nora Nseir, Eyal Zussman, Tal Dvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years attempts to engineer contracting cardiac patches were focused on recapitulation of the myocardium extracellular microenvironment. We report here on our work, where for the first time, a three-dimensional cardiac patch was fabricated from albumin fibers. We hypothesized that since albumin fibers' mechanical properties resemble those of cardiac tissue extracellular matrix (ECM) and their biochemical character enables their use as protein carriers, they can support the assembly of cardiac tissues capable of generating strong contraction forces. Here, we have fabricated aligned and randomly oriented electrospun albumin fibers and investigated their structure, mechanical properties, and chemical nature. Our measurements showed that the scaffolds have improved elasticity as compared to synthetic electrospun PCL fibers, and that they are capable of adsorbing serum proteins, such as laminin leading to strong cell-matrix interactions. Moreover, due to the functional groups on their backbone, the fibers can be chemically modified with essential biomolecules. When seeded with rat neonatal cardiac cells the engineered scaffolds induced the assembly of aligned cardiac tissues with high aspect ratio cardiomyocytes and massive actinin striation. Compared to synthetic fibrous scaffolds, cardiac cells cultured within aligned or randomly oriented scaffolds formed functional tissues, exhibiting significantly improved function already on Day 3, including higher beating rate (P=0.0002 and P<0.0001, respectively), and higher contraction amplitude (P=0.009 and P=0.003, respectively). Collectively, our results suggest that albumin electrospun scaffolds can play a key role in contributing to the ex vivo formation of a contracting cardiac muscle tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1257
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Albumin scaffolds
  • Cardiac tissue engineering
  • Electrospinning


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