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A New Approach to Heart Valve Tissue Engineering Based on Modifying Autologous Human Pericardium by 3D Cellular Mechanotransduction

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Objective: To perform a pilot study using a new method for preparing a three-cusp heart valve construct for potential use as a heart valve replacement based on modifying autologous human pericardium by 3D cellular mechanotransduction. Methods: Human pericardium samples were harvested during cardiac surgery and were cultured under dynamic conditions in the shape of the three cusp aortic heart valve for up to four weeks. After this time, the conditioned pericardial samples were compared with control unconditioned pericardial samples from the same patient and with a normal aortic heart valve obtained during heart transplantation. Results: Human pericardium consists of vimentin-positive pericardial interstitial cells which have similar properties to those of human valvular interstitial cells. These cells are able to respond to mechanical stresses through a process called mechanotransduction by proliferating and differentiating into an activated phenotype capable of producing new extracellular matrix. This was shown by a statistically significant increase in vimentin, alpha smooth muscle actin and Ki-67 positive cells after conditioning, and also by increased production of collagen I, elastin and glycosaminoglycans. The histological structure and the mechanical properties (TEV-secant elastic modulus Es = 21.0 ± 15.3 MPa) of the pericardial tissue engineered heart valve were positively changed and 3D dynamic conditioning was proven to be important for the activation of pericardial interstitial cells and for tissue remodeling. Conclusion: Autologous human pericardium may be a promising tissue from which to construct a living heart valve substitute with optimal mechanical and hemodynamic properties.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-07-01

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  • Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (JBT) is an international peer-reviewed journal that covers all aspects of biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The journal focuses on the broad spectrum of research topics including all types of biomaterials, their properties, bioimplants and medical devices, biofilms, bioimaging, BioMEMS/NEMS, biosensors, fibers, tissue scaffolds, tissue engineering and modeling, artificial organs, tissue interfaces, interactions between biomaterials, blood, cells, tissues, and organs, regenerative medicine and clinical performance.
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