A novel culture device for the evaluation of three-dimensional extracellular matrix materials
Cell-matrix interactions in a three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix (ECM) are of fundamental importance in living tissue, and their in vitro reconstruction in bioartificial structures represents a core target of contemporary tissue engineering concepts. For a detailed analysis of cell-matrix interaction under highly controlled conditions, we developed a novel ECM evaluation culture device (EECD) that allows for a precisely defined surface-seeding of 3D ECM scaffolds, irrespective of their natural geometry. The effectiveness of EECD was evaluated in the context of heart valve tissue engineering. Detergent decellularized pulmonary cusps were mounted in EECD and seeded with endothelial cells (ECs) to study EC adhesion, morphology and function on a 3D ECM after 3, 24, 48 and 96 h. Standard EC monolayers served as controls. Exclusive top-surface-seeding of 3D ECM by viable ECs was demonstrated by laser scanning microscopy (LSM), resulting in a confluent re-endothelialization of the ECM after 96 h. Cell viability and protein expression, as demonstrated by MTS assay and western blot analysis (endothelial nitric oxide synthase, von Willebrand factor), were preserved at maintained levels over time. In conclusion, EECD proves as a highly effective system for a controlled repopulation and in vitro analysis of cell-ECM interactions in 3D ECM. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Available from: Dong Joon Lee
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ABSTRACT: Although calcification remains as the main clinical concern associated with bioprosthetic heart valve replacement surgery, there is evidence that tissue deterioration leads to thromboembolism. In such instances, measures that prevent thrombosis may be beneficial. To minimize thrombosis, endothelialization of the valve surface before implantation has been proposed to facilitate coverage. In this study we aimed to define the optimal flow parameters for the endothelialization of decellularized heart valves using endothelial progenitor cell (EPC)-derived endothelial cells (ECs). We assessed the thrombogenic characteristics of the endothelialized heart valve surface using a bioreactor. EPC-derived ECs were seeded on decellularized porcine valve scaffolds. A computer-controlled bioreactor system was used to determine the optimal flow rates. Successful endothelialization was achieved by preconditioning the cell-seeded valves with stepwise increases in volume flow rate up to 2 L/min for 7 days. We show that decellularized valve scaffolds seeded with EPC-derived ECs improved the anti-thrombotic properties of the valve, whereas the scaffolds without ECs escalated the coagulation process. This study demonstrates that preconditioning of ECs seeded on valve matrices using a bioreactor system is necessary for achieving uniform endothelialization of valve scaffolds, which may reduce thrombotic activity after implantation in vivo.
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