EMT-inducing biomaterials for heart valve engineering: taking cues from developmental biology.

Sewell-Loftin MK, Chun YW, Khademhosseini A, Merryman WD
J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2011 4 (5): 658-71

PMID: 21751069 · PMCID: PMC3310168 · DOI:10.1007/s12265-011-9300-4

Although artificial prostheses for diseased heart valves have been around for several decades, viable heart valve replacements have yet to be developed due to their complicated nature. The majority of research in heart valve replacement technology seeks to improve decellularization techniques for porcine valves or bovine pericardium as an effort to improve current clinically used valves. The drawback of clinically used valves is that they are nonviable and thus do not grow or remodel once implanted inside patients. This is particularly detrimental for pediatric patients, who will likely need several reoperations over the course of their lifetimes to implant larger valves as the patient grows. Due to this limitation, additional biomaterials, both synthetic and natural in origin, are also being investigated as novel scaffolds for tissue-engineered heart valves, specifically for the pediatric population. Here, we provide a brief overview of valves in clinical use as well as of the materials being investigated as novel tissue-engineered heart valve scaffolds. Additionally, we focus on natural-based biomaterials for promoting cell behavior that is indicative of the developmental biology process that occurs in the formation of heart valves in utero, such as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition or transformation. By engineering materials that promote native developmental biology cues and signaling, while also providing mechanical integrity once implanted, a viable tissue-engineered heart valve may one day be realized. A viable tissue-engineered heart valve, capable of growing and remodeling actively inside a patient, could reduce risks and complications associated with current valve replacement options and improve overall quality of life in the thousands of patients who received such valves each year, particularly for children.

MeSH Terms (10)

Animals Biocompatible Materials Bioprosthesis Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Heart Valve Prosthesis Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation Heart Valves Humans Tissue Engineering Tissue Scaffolds

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