Once damaged, cardiac tissue does not readily repair and is therefore a primary target of regenerative therapies. One regenerative approach is the development of scaffolds that functionally mimic the cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) to deliver stem cells or cardiac precursor populations to the heart. Technological advances in micro/nanotechnology, stem cell biology, biomaterials and tissue decellularization have propelled this promising approach forward. Surprisingly, technological advances in optical imaging methods have not been fully utilized in the field of cardiac regeneration. Here, we describe and provide examples to demonstrate how advanced imaging techniques could revolutionize how ECM-mimicking cardiac tissues are informed and evaluated.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Jose A. Santiago for preparing cryo–SEM images and Leanne M. Olds for help with graphic illustrations. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (BMO, HL100014) and the American Heart Association (BMO, IRG5570039).
- Developing heart
- Extracellular matrix
- Multimodality imaging
- Tissue engineering