(Yicai Global) April 3 -- Chinese scientists have developed a new material made from cardiac muscle cells and hydrogels that could be used to create color-changing cardiac chips to monitor heart rates.
A team led by Zhao Yuanjin, a professor at the School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering at Southeast University, conducted experiments using the cardiac muscle cells of rats, state-owned news agency Xinhua reported, citing a paper published by authoritative American academic journal Science Robotics.
“We were inspired by the fact that chameleons change the color of their skin by controlling nano-patterns via their cells,” Zhai said.
When cardiac muscle cells are cultured on hydrogel films, the films will contract or expand in sync with the cells, he added. This causes changes in the nano-patterns of the hydrogels which in turn change the color of the films.
The next step will be fore scientists to create color-changing cardiac chips by integrating other materials, Zhao continued. This will allow the monitoring of heart rate based on the color changes, and could prove a useful tool for screening new drugs and in single-cell biology.