A tissue-engineered heart valve can be an alternative to current mechanical or bioprosthetic valves that face limitations, especially in pediatric patients. However, it remains challenging to produce a functional tissue-engineered heart valve with three leaflets mimicking the trilayered, oriented structure of a native valve leaflet. In our previous study, a flat, trilayered nanofibrous substrate mimicking the orientations of three layers in a native leaflet-circumferential, random and radial orientations in fibrosa, spongiosa and ventricularis layers, respectively, was developed through electrospinning. In this study, we sought to develop a trilayered tissue structure mimicking the orientations of a native valve leaflet through in vivo tissue engineering, a practical regenerative medicine technology that can be used to develop an autologous heart valve. Thus, the nanofibrous substrate was placed inside the closed trileaflet-shaped cavity of a mold and implanted subcutaneously in a rat model for in vivo tissue engineering. After two months, the explanted tissue construct had a trilayered structure mimicking the orientations of a native valve leaflet. The infiltrated cells and their deposited collagen fibrils were oriented along the nanofibers in each layer of the substrate. Besides collagen, presence of glycosaminoglycans and elastin in the construct was observed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering