Objective: cardiac tissue regeneration for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases has been of great research interest. Under the hypothesis that electrical synchronization of cardiac cells can be aided by conductive materials, electrically conductive scaffolds have been frequently used to improve cardiac tissue regeneration. However, theoretical analysis is presently absent in examining the underlying mechanism and rationally guiding the design of these conductive scaffolds. Methods: here, equivalent-circuit models are proposed, in which two adjacent groups of cardiomyocytes are grown either on a bulk conductive substrate or around conductive nanostructures. When one group of cells leads with action potentials, the membrane depolarization of the following group is investigated. Results: this study reveals that membrane depolarization of the following group is most sensitive to seal resistance to the substrate while surface roughness and conductivity of the material have less influence. In addition, it is found that a multiple-cell group is easier to be depolarized by its adjacent beating cardiomyocytes. For nanostructure-bridged cardiac cells, substantial depolarization occurs only with a seal resistance larger than 10 13 O/sqr, which is contradictory to many reported estimations. Conclusion: this work theoretically confirms the positive role of conductive scaffolds and nanostructures in aiding electrical synchronization of cardiac cells and reveals that its performance mainly relies on the cell-device interface. Significance: this work provides a theoretical basis for the rational design of electroactive scaffolds for enhanced cardiac tissue engineering.
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