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Nano-morphology of myocardial scar

DISCOVERIES (ISSN 2359-7232), 2015, July-September


Wu Z, Curaj A, Staudt M, Ponomariov V, Decker L, Rusu M. Nano-level morphology of scar tissue after myocardial infarction. Discoveries 2015, Jul-Sep; 3(3): e49. DOI: 10.15190/d.2015.41 

Submitted: September 24, 2015; Revised: September 28, 2015; Accepted: September 30, 2015; Published September 30, 2015

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Nano-level morphology of scar tissue after myocardial infarction  

Zhuojun Wu (#,1), Adelina Curaj (#,1), Mareike Staudt (1), Victor Ponomariov (2), Leonardus Decker (1), Mihaela Rusu (1,*)

(1) Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research (IMCAR), RWTH Aachen University, Germany;

(2) University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Craiova, Romania;

# These authors contributed equally to this work;


Atomic force microscopy, scar tissue morphology, nano-fibrils, periodicity  


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a pioneer imaging technique commonly employed by biological researchers in detection of the properties of biological membranes over the last decade. The AFM findings distinguish its applicability from the conventional methods, such as: confocal, multi-photons, electron microscopy, etc. as well as from the mechanical methods (compression and indentation test, extensiometry, etc.). With its high resolution (below 10 nm), AFM has emerged as a powerful tool in obtaining the nanostructural details and biomechanical properties of heart tissue. The composition of extracellular matrix is essential for heart compliance and its mechanical function. Here, we illustrate the surface morphology, its structural assembling and the mechanical properties of a myocardial infarction scar section aquired via AFM, in dry conditions. The cross section through the mature myocardial scar of mice after myocardial infarction shows that the embedded fibrils into the tissue matrix of a mature scar overlap at some sites, and form network-like structures. The nano-fibrils surface shows defined structural periodicity. A cross-section along the axial fibrilar direction gives an average D-periodic banding pattern of approximately 50,3 nm (± 6,2 nm std.). As future perspective, yet uncovered morphological and mechanical investigations, correlated with functional studies, open a new window for understanding pathological mechanisms.. 

*Correspondence to

Mihaela Rusu, PhD, Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research (IMCAR), University Hospital Aachen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany; Phone: 0049-241-80 35984; Fax: 0049-241-80 82716; Email: mrusu@ukaachen.de 

Access full text of the manuscript here: 


1. Dobaczewski, M., Gonzalez-Quesada, C. & Frangogiannis, N.G. The extracellular matrix as a modulator of the inflammatory and reparative response following myocardial infarction. Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology 48, 504-511 (2010).

2. Liehn, E.A., Postea, O., Curaj, A. & Marx, N. Repair after myocardial infarction, between fantasy and reality: the role of chemokines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 58, 2357-2362 (2011).

3. Sun, Y. & Weber, K.T. Infarct scar: a dynamic tissue. Cardiovascular research 46, 250-256 (2000).

4. Schuh, A., et al. Novel insights into the mechanism of cell-based therapy after chronic myocardial infarction. Discoveries 1, e9 (2014).

5. Rusu, M., Dulebo, A., Curaj, A. & Liehn, E.A. Ultra-rapid non-invasive clinical nano-diagnosis of inflammatory diseases. Discoveries Reports 1, e2 (2014).

6. Hiesinger, W., et al. Myocardial tissue elastic properties determined by atomic force microscopy after stromal cell-derived factor 1alpha angiogenic therapy for acute myocardial infarction in a murine model. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 143, 962-966 (2012).


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