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Tissue Eng Part A. 2008 Jan;14(1):83-95. doi: 10.1089/ten.a.2007.0148.

Functional tissue-engineered valves from cell-remodeled fibrin with commissural alignment of cell-produced collagen.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


Heart valve replacements composed of living tissue that can adapt, repair, and grow with a patient would provide a more clinically beneficial option than current inert replacements. Bioartificial valves were produced by entrapping human dermal fibroblasts within a fibrin gel. Using a mold design that presents appropriate mechanical constraints to the cell-induced fibrin gel compaction, gross fiber alignment (commissure-to-commissure alignment in the leaflets and circumferential alignment in the root) and the basic geometry of a native aortic valve were obtained. After static incubation on the mold in complete medium supplemented with transforming growth factor beta 1, insulin, and ascorbate, collagen fibers produced by the entrapped cells were found to coalign with the fibrin based on histological analyses. The resultant tensile mechanical properties were anisotropic. Ultimate tensile strength and tensile modulus of the leaflets in the commissural direction were 0.53 and 2.34 MPa, respectively. The constructs were capable of withstanding backpressure commensurate with porcine aortic valves in regurgitation tests (330 mmHg) and opened and closed under physiological pressure swings of 10 and 20 mmHg, respectively. These data support proof of principle of using cell-remodeled fibrin gel to produce tissue-engineered valve replacements.

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