Electrically Stimulated Adipose Stem Cells on Polypyrrole-Coated Scaffolds for Smooth Muscle Tissue Engineering
We investigated the use of polypyrrole (PPy)-coated polymer scaffolds and electrical stimulation (ES) to differentiate adipose stem cells (ASCs) towards smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Since tissue engineering lacks robust and reusable 3D ES devices we developed a device that can deliver ES in a reliable, repeatable, and cost-efficient way in a 3D environment. Long pulse (1 ms) or short pulse (0.25 ms) biphasic electric current at a frequency of 10 Hz was applied to ASCs to study the effects of ES on ASC viability and differentiation towards SMCs on the PPy-coated scaffolds. PPy-coated scaffolds promoted proliferation and induced stronger calponin, myosin heavy chain (MHC) and smooth muscle actin (SMA) expression in ASCs compared to uncoated scaffolds. ES with 1 ms pulse width increased the number of viable cells by day 7 compared to controls and remained at similar levels to controls by day 14, whereas shorter pulses significantly decreased viability compared to the other groups. Both ES protocols supported smooth muscle expression markers. Our results indicate that electrical stimulation on PPy-coated scaffolds applied through the novel 3D ES device is a valid approach for vascular smooth muscle tissue engineering.