Conductive Polymer PEDOT:PSS-Based Platform for Embryonic Stem-Cell Differentiation

Organic semiconductors are constantly gaining interest in regenerative medicine. Their tunable physico-chemical properties, including electrical conductivity, are very promising for the control of stem-cell differentiation. However, their use for combined material-based and electrical stimulation remains largely underexplored. Therefore, we carried out a study on whether a platform based on the conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) can be beneficial to the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). The platform was prepared using the layout of a standard 24-well cell-culture plate. Polyethylene naphthalate foil served as the substrate for the preparation of interdigitated gold electrodes by physical vapor deposition. The PEDOT:PSS pattern was fabricated by precise screen printing over the gold electrodes. The PEDOT:PSS platform was able to produce higher electrical current with the pulsed-direct-current (DC) electrostimulation mode (1 Hz, 200 mV/mm, 100 ms pulse duration) compared to plain gold electrodes. There was a dominant capacitive component. In proof-of-concept experiments, mESCs were able to respond to such electrostimulation by membrane depolarization and elevation of cytosolic calcium. Further, the PEDOT:PSS platform was able to upregulate cardiomyogenesis and potentially inhibit early neurogenesis per se with minor contribution of electrostimulation. Hence, the present work highlights the large potential of PEDOT:PSS in regenerative medicine.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022, vol. 23, issue 3, p. 1-16.
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