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Swiss Med Wkly. 2006 Sep 30;136(39-40):618-23.

Tissue engineered heart valves based on human cells.

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  • 1Division of Regenerative Medicine (Tissue Engineering and Cell Transplantation), Department of Surgical Research, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


Valvular heart disease is still a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Clinically used valve replacements including mechanical valves as well as fixed biological xeno- or homografts are associated with several major disadvantages. Alternatively, tissue engineering aims at the fabrication of autologous living cardiovascular replacements with the potential to grow and to repair, particularly for paediatric applications. Therefore, autologous cells are harvested and seeded onto three-dimensional matrices followed by biomimetic in vitro conditioning enabling the development of the neo-heart valve tissue. Here, we review different human cell sources such as vessels, bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue and blood, and chorionic villi with particular regard to cell phenotypes and their suitability for extracellular matrix production for tissue engineering purposes.

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