Ultrasoft electronics to monitor dynamically pulsing cardiomyocytes
Super-soft sensors can take the pulse of living heart cells without meddling with their motion.
Studying heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, is vital for understanding heart disease, but using rigid sensors and hard Petri dishes restricts the natural movement of living cells.
Now, a team that included researchers from Waseda University has made a super soft and flexible sensor.
They made the sensor from a mesh of plastic threads, which they embedded with gold fibres to detect and relay the voltage of each cell beat. The researchers then grew human cardiomyocytes on a squishy, gel-like substance and— painstakingly — attached their nanomesh to the living cells. The cells contracted and relaxed as freely as those without nanomeshes, and the sensor recorded their motion for four days without damaging the cells.
The porous nanomesh could one day deliver drugs with minimal disruption to the target cells while simultaneously recording how the cells react.
- Nature Nanotechnology 14, 156–160 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41565-018-0331-8