The effect of immobilized RGD peptide in alginate scaffolds on cardiac tissue engineering

Michal Shachar, Orna Tsur-Gang, Tal Dvir, Jonathan Leor, Smadar Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiac tissue engineering aims to regenerate damaged myocardial tissues by applying heart patches created in vitro. The present study was undertaken to explore the possible role of matrix-attached RGD peptide in the engineering of cardiac tissue within macroporous scaffolds. Neonatal rat cardiac cells were seeded into RGD-immobilized or unmodified alginate scaffolds. The immobilized RGD peptide promoted cell adherence to the matrix, prevented cell apoptosis and accelerated cardiac tissue regeneration. Within 6 days, the cardiomyocytes reorganized their myofibrils and reconstructed myofibers composed of multiple cardiomyocytes in a typical myofiber bundle. The nonmyocyte cell population, mainly cardiofibroblasts, benefited greatly from adhering to the RGD-alginate matrix and consequently supported the cardiomyocytes. They often surrounded bundles of cardiac myofibers in a manner similar to that of native cardiac tissue. The benefits of culturing the cardiac cells in RGD-immobilized alginate scaffolds were further substantiated by Western blotting, revealing that the relative expression levels of α-actinin, N-cadherin and connexin-43 were better maintained in cells cultured within these scaffolds. Collectively, the immobilization of RGD peptide into macroporous alginate scaffolds proved to be a key parameter in cardiac tissue engineering, contributing to the formation of functional cardiac muscle tissue and to a better preservation of the regenerated tissue in culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation


    • Alginate scaffolds
    • Cardiac tissue engineering
    • Cardiomyocytes
    • Nonmyocyte
    • RGD peptide


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