Tissue engineering holds the promise of providing new solutions for heart transplant shortages and pediatric heart transplantation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of a peritoneal-generated, tissue-engineered cardiac patch to replace damaged myocardium in a heterotopic heart transplant model. Fetal cardiac cells (1 × 106/scaffold) from syngeneic Lewis rats were seeded into highly porous alginate scaffolds. The cell constructs were cultured in vitro for 4 days and then they were implanted into the rat peritoneal cavity for 1 week. During this time the peritoneal-implanted patches were vascularized and populated with myofibroblasts. They were harvested and their performance in an infrarenal heterotopic abdominal heart transplantation model was examined (n = 15). After transplantation and before reperfusion of the donor heart, a 5-mm left (n = 6) or right (n = 9) ventriculotomy was performed and the patch was sutured onto the donor heart to repair the defect. Echocardiographical studies carried out 1‐2 weeks after transplantation showed normal LV function in seven of the eight hearts studied. After 1 month, visual examination of the grafted patch revealed no aneurysmal dilatation. Microscopic examination revealed, in most of the cardiac patches, a complete disappearance of the scaffold and its replacement by a consistent tissue composed of myofibroblasts embedded in collagen bundles. The cardiac patch was enriched with a relatively large number of infiltrating blood vessels. In conclusion, cardiac patches generated in the peritoneum were developed into consistent tissue patches with properties to seal and correct myocardial defects. Our study also offers a viable rat model for screening and evaluating new concepts in cardiac reconstruction and engineering.
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Document Type: Research Article
Neufeld Cardiac Research Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel–Aviv University, Tel–Hashomer, Israel
Publication date: 2009-03-01
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