Tunable electroconductive decellularized extracellular matrix hydrogels for engineering human cardiac microphysiological systems

Jonathan H. Tsui, Andrea Leonard, Nathan D. Camp, Joseph T. Long, Zeid Y. Nawas, Rakchanok Chavanachat, Alec S.T. Smith, Jong Seob Choi, Zhipeng Dong, Eun Hyun Ahn, Alejandro Wolf-Yadlin, Charles E. Murry, Nathan J. Sniadecki, Deok Ho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) offer tremendous potential when used to engineer human tissues for drug screening and disease modeling; however, phenotypic immaturity reduces assay reliability when translating in vitro results to clinical studies. To address this, we have developed hybrid hydrogels comprised of decellularized porcine myocardial extracellular matrix (dECM) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) to provide a more instructive microenvironment for proper cell and tissue development. A tissue-specific protein profile was preserved post-decellularization, and through the modulation of rGO content and degree of reduction, the mechanical and electrical properties of the hydrogels could be tuned. Engineered heart tissues (EHTs) generated using dECM-rGO hydrogel scaffolds and hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes exhibited significantly increased twitch forces and had increased expression of genes that regulate contractile function. Improvements in various aspects of electrophysiological function, such as calcium-handling, action potential duration, and conduction velocity, were also induced by the hybrid biomaterial. dECM-rGO hydrogels could also be used as a bioink to print cardiac tissues in a high-throughput manner, and these tissues were utilized to assess the proarrhythmic potential of cisapride. Action potential prolongation and beat interval irregularities was observed in dECM-rGO tissues at clinical doses of cisapride, indicating that the enhanced electrophysiological function of these tissues corresponded well with a capability to produce physiologically relevant drug responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120764
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Bioprinting
  • Cardiac tissue engineering
  • Decellularized extracellular matrix
  • Graphene oxide
  • Hybrid materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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