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    • Tissue Engineering of Autologous Human Heart Valves Using Cryopreserved Vascular Umbilical Cord Cells: Influence Statistics

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      Concepts for whichthey havehas direct influence:Tissue engineering,Heart valves,Heart valve,Umbilical cord,Cord cells,Human heart,Electron microscopy,Vascular umbilical.

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      Tissue Engineering of Autologous Human Heart Valves Using Cryopreserved Vascular Umbilical Cord Cells

      Abstract

      BACKGROUND: Tissue engineering of autologous heart valves with the potential to grow and to remodel represents a promising concept in pediatric cardiovascular surgery. Currently we are exploring the impact of cryopreserved human umbilical cord cells (CHUCCs) for the fabrication of tissue-engineered heart valves for patients diagnosed prenatally with congenital heart lesions, potentially enabling heart valve replacement in the early years of life.

      METHODS: Human umbilical cord cells were isolated from vascular segments of umbilical cords and cryopreserved in a cell bank. After 12 weeks the cryopreserved cells were again expanded in culture and characterized by histology, immunohistochemistry, and proliferation assays. Trileaflet heart valve scaffolds were fabricated from a porous polymer (P4HB, Tepha Inc, Cambridge, MA) and sequentially seeded with CHUCCs (n = 10). Five of the heart valve constructs were grown for 7 days in a pulse duplicator and, as a control, five constructs were grown under static cell culture conditions for 7 days. Analysis of all tissue-engineered heart valves included histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, functional analysis, and biomechanical and biochemical examination.

      RESULTS: We found that CHUCCs remained viable after 12 weeks of cryopreservation and showed a myofibroblast-like morphology that stained positive for alpha-actin and fibroblast specific marker. Histology of the tissue-engineered heart valves showed layered tissue formation, including connective tissue between the inside and the outside of the porous scaffold. Immunohistochemistry was positive for collagen (types I, III, and IV), desmin, laminin, and alpha-actin. Electron microscopy showed that the cells had grown into the pores and formed a confluent tissue layer during maturation in the pulsatile flow system. Biochemical examination showed an increase of extracellular matrix formation in constructs after pulsatile flow exposure compared with the static control group. Functional analysis demonstrated a physiological increase of the intracellular Ca2+ concentration of the recultivated cells and the conditioned constructs after stimulation with histamine.

      CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates in vitro generation of viable and functional human heart valves based on CHUCCs and biomimetic flow culture systems. The CHUCCs demonstrated excellent growth potential and abilities of in vitro tissue formation. These findings suggest the potential benefit of establishing autologous human cell banks for pediatric patients diagnosed intrauterinely with congenital defects that will potentially require heart valve replacement in the early years of life.

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