Biowire Model of Interstitial and Focal Cardiac Fibrosis.
Wang EY., Rafatian N., Zhao Y., Lee A., Lai BFL., Lu RX., Jekic D., Davenport Huyer L., Knee-Walden EJ., Bhattacharya S., Backx PH., Radisic M.
Myocardial fibrosis is a severe global health problem due to its prevalence in all forms of cardiac diseases and direct role in causing heart failure. The discovery of efficient antifibrotic compounds has been hampered due to the lack of a physiologically relevant disease model. Herein, we present a disease model of human myocardial fibrosis and use it to establish a compound screening system. In the Biowire II platform, cardiac tissues are suspended between a pair of poly(octamethylene maleate (anhydride) citrate) (POMaC) wires. Noninvasive functional readouts are realized on the basis of the deflection of the intrinsically fluorescent polymer. The disease model is constructed to recapitulate contractile, biomechanical, and electrophysiological complexities of fibrotic myocardium. Additionally, we constructed a heteropolar integrated model with fibrotic and healthy cardiac tissues coupled together. The integrated model captures the regional heterogeneity of scar lesion, border zone, and adjacent healthy myocardium. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of the system for the evaluation of antifibrotic compounds. The high-fidelity in vitro model system combined with convenient functional readouts could potentially facilitate the development of precision medicine strategies for cardiac fibrosis modeling and establish a pipeline for preclinical compound screening.