The heart cannot regenerate new tissue, because cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells, do not divide after birth. However, researchers have now developed a shape memory polymer to grow cardiomyocytes. Raising the material’s temperature turned the polymer’s flat surface into nanowrinkles, which promoted cardiomyocyte alignment. The research is part of the growing field of mechanobiology, which investigates how physical forces between cells and changes in their mechanical properties contribute to development, cell differentiation, physiology, and disease.
Many patients with heart disease face limited treatment options. Fortunately, stem cell biology has enabled researchers to produce large numbers of cardiomyocytes, which may be used in advanced drug screens and cell-based therapies. However, current image analysis techniques don’t allow researchers to analyze heterogeneous, multidirectional, striated myofibrils typical of immature cells. In the Journal of Applied Physics, researchers showcase an algorithm that combines gradient methods with fast Fourier transforms to quantify myofibril structures in heart cells with considerable accuracy.
The April 2020 issue of the Society of Toxicology’s official journal, Toxicological Sciences, features leading research in toxicology, including several manuscripts covering emerging technologies, methods, and models.
Papers on the epigenetic changes to mouse livers induced by a specific ligand and prenatal dexamethasone exposure-induced alterations in neurobehavior in female rat offspring are featured in latest issue of Toxicological Sciences.