Fibrous heart valve leaflet substrate with native-mimicked morphology

Soumen Jana, Federico Franchi, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tissue-engineered heart valves are a promising alternative solution to prosthetic valves. However, long-term functionalities of tissue-engineered heart valves depend on the ability to mimic the trilayered, oriented structure of native heart valve leaflets. In this study, using electrospinning, we developed trilayered microfibrous leaflet substrates with morphological characteristics similar to native leaflets. The substrates were implanted subcutaneously in rats to study the effect of their trilayered oriented structure on in vivo tissue engineering. The tissue constructs showed a well-defined structure, with a circumferentially oriented layer, a randomly oriented layer and a radially oriented layer. The extracellular matrix, produced during in vivo tissue engineering, consisted of collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and elastin, all major components of native leaflets. Moreover, the anisotropic tensile properties of the constructs were sufficient to bear the valvular physiological load. Finally, the expression of vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin, at the gene and protein level, was detected in the residing cells, revealing their growing state and their transdifferentiation to myofibroblasts. Our data support a critical role for the trilayered structure and anisotropic properties in functional leaflet tissue constructs, and indicate that the leaflet substrates have the potential for the development of valve scaffolds for heart valve replacements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101112
JournalApplied Materials Today
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

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