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Nano- and Microstructured ECM and Biomimetic Scaffolds for Cardiac Tissue Engineering
This chapter provides an overview of the heart and the biomimetic approaches used to engineer cardiac muscle tissue. It first describes the unique structure and function of cardiac muscle (myocardium), discusses how this dictates scaffold design, and then defines the benchmarks used to evaluate the performance of engineered cardiac tissue. Next, the chapter presents the different techniques researchers have developed to fabricate tissue-engineered cardiac scaffolds that mimic extracellular matrix (ECM) cues observed in the heart. For each case, the relevant physical, mechanical and/or chemical properties and the particular advantages and limitations of the approach, are discussed. Finally, the chapter discusses the persistent challenges to engineering functional cardiac tissue and the future directions of the field. Nano- and microfabrication techniques for cardiac tissue engineering enable the formation of scaffolds with anisotropic structure on the same scale as fibers in the native cardiac ECM.