Fetal heart ECM shows enhanced potential to support cardiac cells.

A main challenge in cardiac tissue engineering is the limited data on microenvironmental cues that sustain survival, proliferation and functional proficiency of cardiac cells. The group of Microenvironments for New Therapies at i3S at University of Porto, addressed this issue by comparing the potential of fetal (E18) and adult myocardial extracellular matrix (ECM) to support cardiac cells. Their findings, in an article by Ana Silva et al entitled “Three-dimensional scaffolds of fetal decellularized hearts exhibit enhanced potential to support cardiac cells in comparison to the adult” published in Biomaterials, demonstrate the superior potential of the 3D fetal microenvironment to support and instruct cardiac cells. This knowledge should be integrated in the design of next-generation biomimetic materials for heart repair.