Despite the success to prevent or limit cardiovascular diseases, the restoration of the function of a damaged heart remains a formidable challenge. Cardiac stem cells (CSCs), with the capacity to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, hold great potential as a source of cells for regenerative medicine. A major challenge facing the clinical application of differentiated CSCs, however, is theability to generate sufficient numbers of cells with the desired phenotype. We previously established cell lines of CSCs using a c-kit antibody from adult rat hearts for use in regenerative medicine. C-kit -positive cardiac cells are well recognized as CSCs and have the potential to differentiate into cardiomyocytes. Here, before implant these cells in vivo, we first developed three-dimensional culture system (3D) using micro- and nano-scaled material. Sheets of poly(glycolic acid) (PGA) were fabricated by electrospinning. Composites of collagen-PGA were prepared that contained 0, 1.5, 3 or 6 mg of electrospun PGA nanofibers. The nanofibers were added as a sheet that formed a layer within the collagen sponge. The sponges were freeze-dried and then dehydrothermally crosslinked. A scanning electron microscopy (SEM)-based analysis of the surface of the sponges demonstrated a uniform collagenous structure regardless of the amount of PGA nanofibres included. The PGA nanofibers significantly enhanced the compressive strength of the collagen sponge. More CSCs attached to the collagen sponge incorporating 6 mg of PGA nanofibers than the sponge without PGA nanofibers. The attachment and proliferation of CSCs in the 3D culture was enhanced by incubation in a bioreactor perfusion system compared with 3D static and two-dimensional (2D; i.e. tissue culture plates) culture systems. The use of micro- and nano-scale materials in the fabrication of composites together with a 3D culture system is a very promising way to promote the culture of stem cells. (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res, 2010.
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