Image of the Day: 3-D Nanofibers

Researchers created a nanofibrous scaffold to see how it supports cell growth.

Mar 7, 2018
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff

Cardiac muscle cells (purple) envelop a 3-D model of nanofibers (pink). V. BALASHOV ET AL.

Researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) created a 3-D model of synthetic nanofibers to learn how to engineer more efficient scaffolds for biomedical applications. The researchers reported in Acta Biomaterialia last week (March 2) that cardiac muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, interface with nanofibers differently than do fibroblasts—connective tissue cells.

“[W]e discovered that during their development on a nanofibrous scaffold, cardiomyocytes wrap the fibers on all sides creating a ‘sheath’ structure in the majority of cases,” says study coauthor Konstantin Agladze, a physicist at MIPT, in a press release. “Fibroblasts, by contrast, have a more rigid structure and a much smaller area of interaction with the substrate, touching it only on one side.” This finding could help scientists engineer more effective nanofiber scaffolds for “smart” biomaterials, the researchers write in the study.

V. Balashov et al., “High resolution 3D microscopy study of cardiomyocytes on polymer scaffold nanofibers reveals formation of unusual sheathed structure,” Acta Biomaterialia, doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2017.12.031, 2018.