Development of a Composite, Tissue Engineered Aortic Valve

Y. Shi, A. Ramamurthi, L. Rittman, and I. Vesely (USA)


Tissue engineering, heart valves, collagen, elastin, hyaluronan, composite tissues


The traditional approach to tissue engineering has involved the seeding of cells on bioresorbable scaffolds, that, when implanted into the recipient, slowly degrade and become replaced by the target organ or tissue. This has not worked for the cardiac valves. Our approach to tissue engineering of cardiac valve tissues is to build each structural component of the heart valve cusp separately in vitro and then integrate all the components together into a composite valve structure. Collagen fiber bundles were fabricated by the method of directed collagen gel shrinkage, and elastin layered were grown on substrates of crosslinked, high molecular weight hyaluronan. Collagen fiber bundles were found to have good mechanical properties, integrated well together when cultured in apposition and elastin sheets were found to be continuous and fenestrated as in the native aortic valve. Improvements in culture technique are being continually implemented by way of dynamic culture and optimal culture conditions.

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