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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8473465, 15 pages
Review Article

Artificial Cardiac Muscle with or without the Use of Scaffolds

Yifei Li1,2,3 and Donghui Zhang3,4

1Department of Pediatrics, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
2Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Women and Children’s Diseases and Birth Defects, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
3Department of Cardiology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
4Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Green Transformation of Bio-Resources, College of Life Sciences, Hubei University, Wuhan, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Donghui Zhang

Received 27 February 2017; Revised 31 May 2017; Accepted 27 June 2017; Published 10 August 2017

Academic Editor: Kibret Mequanint

Copyright © 2017 Yifei Li and Donghui Zhang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the past several decades, major advances and improvements now promote better treatment options for cardiovascular diseases. However, these diseases still remain the single leading cause of death worldwide. The rapid development of cardiac tissue engineering has provided the opportunity to potentially restore the contractile function and retain the pumping feature of injured hearts. This conception of cardiac tissue engineering can enable researchers to produce autologous and functional biomaterials which represents a promising technique to benefit patients with cardiovascular diseases. Such an approach will ultimately reshape existing heart transplantation protocols. Notable efforts are accelerating the development of cardiac tissue engineering, particularly to create larger tissue with enhanced functionality. Decellularized scaffolds, polymer synthetics fibrous matrix, and natural materials are used to build robust cardiac tissue scaffolds to imitate the morphological and physiological patterns of natural tissue. This ultimately helps cells to implant properly to obtain endogenous biological capacity. However, newer designs such as the hydrogel scaffold-free matrix can increase the applicability of artificial tissue to engineering strategies. In this review, we summarize all the methods to produce artificial cardiac tissue using scaffold and scaffold-free technology, their advantages and disadvantages, and their relevance to clinical practice.