Development of 3D PVA scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering and cell screening applications

Elisabetta Dattola, Elvira Immacolata Parrotta, Stefania Scalise, Gerardo Perozziello, Tania Limongi, Patrizio Candeloro, Maria Laura Coluccio, Carmine Maletta, Luigi Bruno, Maria Teresa De Angelis, Gianluca Santamaria, Vincenzo Mollace, Ernesto Lamanna, Enzo M. Di Fabrizio, Giovanni Cuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was the design of a 3D scaffold composed of poly(vinyl) alcohol (PVA) for cardiac tissue engineering (CTE) applications. The PVA scaffold was fabricated using a combination of gas foaming and freeze-drying processes that did not need any cross-linking agents. We obtained a biocompatible porous matrix with excellent mechanical properties. We measured the stress–strain curves of the PVA scaffolds and we showed that the elastic behavior is similar to that of the extracellular matrix of muscles. The SEM observations revealed that the scaffolds possess micro pores having diameters ranging from 10 μm to 370 μm that fit to the dimensions of the cells. A further purpose of this study was to test scaffolds ability to support human induced pluripotent stem cells growth and differentiation into cardiomyocytes. As the proliferation tests show, the number of live stem cells on the scaffold after 12 days was increased with respect to the initial number of cells, revealing the cytocompatibility of the substrate. In addition, the differentiated cells on the PVA scaffolds expressed anti-troponin T, a marker specific of the cardiac sarcomere. We demonstrated the ability of the cardiomyocytes to pulse within the scaffolds. In conclusion, the developed scaffold show the potential to be used as a biomaterial for CTE applications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4246-4257
Number of pages12
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the project for Young researchers financed from the Italian Ministry of Health “High throughput analysis of cancer cells for therapy evaluation by microfluidic platforms integrating plasmonic nanodevices” (CUP J65C13001350001, project No. GR-2010-2311677) granted to the nanotechnology laboratory of the Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of the University “Magna Graecia” of Catanzaro.


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