Electroconductive substrates are emerging as promising functional materials for biomedical applications. Here, the development of biohybrids of collagen and pristine graphene that effectively harness both the biofunctionality of the protein component and the increased stiffness and enhanced electrical conductivity (matching native cardiac tissue) obtainable with pristine graphene is reported. As well as improving substrate physical properties, the addition of pristine graphene also enhances human cardiac fibroblast growth while simultaneously inhibiting bacterial attachment (Staphylococcus aureus). When embryonic-stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes (ESC-CMs) are cultured on the substrates, biohybrids containing 32 wt% graphene significantly increase metabolic activity and cross-striated sarcomeric structures, indicative of the improved substrate suitability. By then applying electrical stimulation to these conductive biohybrid substrates, an enhancement of the alignment and maturation of the ESC-CMs is achieved. While this in vitro work has clearly shown the potential of these materials to be translated for cardiac applications, it is proposed that these graphene-based biohybrid platforms have potential for a myriad of other applications-particularly in electrically sensitive tissues, such as neural and neural and musculoskeletal tissues.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->