Multiscale Characterization of Engineered Cardiac Tissue Architecture
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering
In a properly contracting cardiac muscle, many different subcellular structures are organized into an intricate architecture. While it has been observed that this organization is altered in pathological conditions, the relationship between length-scales and architecture has not been properly explored. In this work, we utilize a variety of architecture metrics to quantify organization and consistency of single structures over multiple scales, from subcellular to tissue scale as well as
... n of organization of multiple structures. Specifically, as the best way to characterize cardiac tissues, we chose the orientational and co-orientational order parameters (COOPs). Similarly, neonatal rat ventricular myocytes were selected for their consistent architectural behavior. The engineered cells and tissues were stained for four architectural structures: actin, tubulin, sarcomeric z-lines, and nuclei. We applied the orientational metrics to cardiac cells of various shapes, isotropic cardiac tissues, and anisotropic globally aligned tissues. With these novel tools, we discovered: (1) the relationship between cellular shape and consistency of self-assembly; (2) the length-scales at which unguided tissues self-organize; and (3) the correlation or lack thereof between organization of actin fibrils, sarcomeric z-lines, tubulin fibrils, and nuclei. All of these together elucidate some of the current mysteries in the relationship between force production and architecture, while raising more questions about the effect of guidance cues on self-assembly function. These types of metrics are the future of quantitative tissue engineering in cardiovascular biomechanics.