Faculty Advisor

Glenn Gaudette

Faculty Advisor

George Pins

Faculty Advisor

Raymond Page


Stem cell therapies have shown promising capabilities in regaining the functionality of scar tissue following a myocardial infarction. Biological sutures composed of fibrin have been shown to more effectively deliver human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) to the heart when compared to traditional cell delivery mechanisms. While the biological sutures do show promise, improvements can be made. To enhance the fibrin sutures, we propose to incorporate native cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) into the fibrin microthreads to produce a more in vivo-like environment. This project investigated the effects that ECM incorporation has on fibrin microthread structure, mechanics, stem cell seeding, and pro-angiogenic potential. Single microthreads composed of fibrin or fibrin and ECM were subjected to uniaxial tensile testing. It was found that the microthreads consisting of both fibrin and ECM had significantly high elastic moduli than fibrin only microthreads. Cell seeding potential was evaluated by performing a 24-hour hMSC seeding experiment using sutures of the varying microthread types. A CyQuant cell proliferation assay was used to determine the number of cells seeded onto each suture type. The results determined that there was no statistical difference between the numbers of cells seeded on the types of sutures. To examine the pro-angiogenic potential the microthreads had, a 24-hour endothelial progenitor outgrowth cell (EPOC) outgrowth assay was used. Fibrin and 15% ECM-fibrin microthreads were placed within the scratch of an EPOC culture and evaluated every 6 hours for 24 hours. We found that the 15% ECM microthreads had significantly increased the EPOC outgrowth, approximately 16% more distance travelled than fibrin microthreads and 18% more than no microthreads. Our combined results suggest that ECM does not affect hMSC attachment to biological sutures but does increase the pro-angiogenic potential of the microthreads due to their increase in guiding EPOC outgrowth.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





decellularized, extracellular matrix, microthreads