A tissue-engineered heart valve can be an alternative to a prosthetic valve in heart valve replacement; however, it is not fully efficient in terms of long-lasting functionality, as leaflets in engineered valves do not possess the trilayered native leaflet structure. Previously, we developed a flat, trilayered, oriented nanofibrous (TN) scaffold mimicking the trilayered structure and orientation of native heart valve leaflets. In vivo tissue engineering—a practical regenerative medicine technology—can be used to develop an autologous heart valve. Thus, in this study, we used our flat, trilayered, oriented nanofibrous scaffolds to develop trilayered tissue structures with native leaflet orientations through in vivo tissue engineering in a rat model. After 2 months of in vivo tissue engineering, infiltrated cells and their deposited collagen fibrils were found aligned in the circumferential and radial layers, and randomly oriented in the random layer of the scaffolds, i.e., trilayered tissue constructs (TTCs) were developed. Tensile properties of the TTCs were higher than that of the control tissue constructs (without any scaffolds) due to influence of fibers of the scaffolds in tissue engineering. Different extracellular matrix proteins—collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and elastin—that exist in native leaflets were observed in the TTCs. Gene expression of the TTCs indicated that the tissue constructs were in growing stage. There was no sign of calcification in the tissue constructs. The TTCs developed with the flat TN scaffolds indicate that an autologous leaflet-shaped, trilayered tissue construct that can function as a native leaflet can be developed.
- Cardiac valve leaflet
- In vivo tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology