Because of cryopreserved heart valve-mediated immune responses, decellularized allograft valves are an attractive option in children and young adults. The objective of this study was to investigate the performance and morphologic features of decellularized pulmonary valves implanted in the right ventricular outflow tract of juvenile sheep.
Right ventricular outflow tract reconstructions in juvenile sheep (160±9 days) using cryopreserved pulmonary allografts (n=6), porcine aortic root bioprostheses (n=4), or detergent/enzyme-decellularized pulmonary allografts (n=8) were performed. Valve performance (echocardiography) and morphologic features (gross, radiographic, and histologic examination) were evaluated 20 weeks after implantation.
Decellularization reduced DNA in valve cusps by 99.3%. Bioprosthetic valves had the largest peak and mean gradients versus decellularized valves (p=0.03; p<0.001) and cryopreserved valves (p=0.01; p=0.001), which were similar (p=0.45; p=0.40). Regurgitation was minimal and similar for all groups (p=0.16). No cusp calcification was observed in any valve type. Arterial wall calcification was present in cryopreserved and bioprosthetic grafts but not in decellularized valves. No autologous recellularization or inflammation occurred in bioprostheses, whereas cellularity progressively decreased in cryopreserved grafts. Autologous recellularization was present in decellularized arterial walls and variably extending into the cusps.
Cryopreserved and decellularized graft hemodynamic performance was comparable. Autologous recellularization of the decellularized pulmonary arterial wall was consistently observed, with variable cusp recellularization. As demonstrated in this study, decellularized allograft valves have the potential for autologous recellularization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Decellularized allografts are promising options for pediatric valve replacement due to reduced immunogenicity and the potential for in vivo autologous recellularization, extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and re-endothelialization, which may be enhanced with post-decellularization processing steps. This study investigated the performance and morphology of decellularized and ECM conditioned pulmonary valves implanted in the right ventricular outflow tracts (RVOT) of juvenile sheep. RVOT reconstructions in juvenile sheep using cryopreserved pulmonary allografts (Cryo; n = 2), porcine aortic root bioprostheses (Biopros; n = 2) or decellularized/ECM conditioned pulmonary allografts (Conditioned; n = 4) were performed. Valve performance and morphology were evaluated at 20 weeks after implant. Uniaxial tensile testing was performed on a subset of unimplanted valves from each group. At explant, Biopros had significantly higher peak/mean gradients vs. Conditioned and Cryo, which were similar. No cusp calcification occurred in any valve; arterial wall calcification was present only in Cryo (mild/moderate) and Biopros (severe). No autologous recellularization or inflammation occurred in Biopros; cellularity was decreased in Cryo. Autologous recellularization was present in Conditioned arterial walls and variably extending into the cusps, with consistent cusp re-endothelialization. Conditioned valves had reduced cusp extensibility, increased stiffness and similar tensile strength vs. Cryo. Although Conditioned valves were slightly stiffer and less extensible than Cryo valves, their hemodynamic performance was comparable, indicating they behave as functional heart valves immediately following implant. Because both autologous recellularization and re-endothelialization were seen, ECM conditioning shows promise for encouraging renewal of the cellularity of decellularized allograft valves without the need for pre-implant endothelial cell seeding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the development of tissue-engineered heart valves based on allograft decellularized extracellular matrix scaffolds, the material properties of the implant should be ideally comparable to the native semilunar valves. This investigation of the viscoelastic properties of the three functional aortic/pulmonary valve tissues (leaflets, sinus wall, and great vessel wall) was undertaken to establish normative values for fresh samples of human valves and to compare these properties after various steps in creating scaffolds for subsequent bioreactor-based seeding protocols. Torsional wave methods were used to measure the viscoelastic properties. Since preclinical surgical implant validation studies require relevant animal models, the tests reported here also include results for three pairs of both ovine and baboon aortic and pulmonary valves. For human aortic valves, four cryopreserved valves were compared with four decellularized scaffolds. Because of organ and heart valve transplant scarcity for pulmonary valves, only three cryopreserved and two decellularized pulmonary valves were tested. Leaflets are relatively soft. Loss angles are similar for all tissue samples. Regardless of species, the decellularization process used in this study has little effect on viscoelastic properties.
Tissue Engineering Part A 09/2011; 18(3-4):423-31. DOI:10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0677 · 4.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study features the longest experimental
follow-up for decellularized heart valves implanted in an
animal model. Porcine aortic heart valves were decellularized according to a disclosed standardized method in which
TRITON X-100 and sodium cholate (TRICOL) are used in
succession, followed by a further treatment with the endonuclease Benzonase to completely remove the nucleic acid
remnants. Experimental animals (n = 17), represented by
Vietnamese pigs (VPs), received a decellularized aortic
allograft as a substitute for the replacement of their right
ventricular outﬂow tract. The surgical implantation of the
TRICOL-treated aortic valve conduit was successful in 11
VPs, while perioperative or postoperative complications
occurred in the remaining six animals. In the shamoperated group (n = 4), the native pulmonary root was
excised and immediately reimplanted orthotopically in the
same animal. Echocardiography demonstrated a satisfactory hemodynamic performance of the TRICOL-treated
valves during follow-up as well as the absence of relevant
leaﬂet alterations concerning thickness and motility or
valve insufﬁciency.At explantation, macroscopic inspection
of tissue-engineered heart valve conduits did not evidence
calciﬁcations and showed a decreased wall thickness, comparable to that of the reimplanted native pulmonary roots.
Noteworthy, extended functional performance, recovery of
DNA content, and active extracellular matrix precursor
incorporation are apparently compatible with the properties of a living self-supporting substitute.
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