Poly-ε-caprolactone scaffold and reduced in vitro cell culture: beneficial effect on compaction and improved valvular tissue formation

M.C.P. Brugmans, A. Driessen - Mol, M.P. Rubbens, M.A.J. Cox, F.P.T. Baaijens

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Tissue-engineered heart valves (TEHVs), based on polyglycolic acid (PGA) scaffolds coated with poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB), have shown promising in vivo results in terms of tissue formation. However, a major drawback of these TEHVs is compaction and retraction of the leaflets, causing regurgitation. To overcome this problem, the aim of this study was to investigate: (a) the use of the slowly degrading poly-e-caprolactone (PCL) scaffold for prolonged mechanical integrity; and (b) the use of lower passage cells for enhanced tissue formation. Passage 3, 5 and 7 (P3, P5 and P7) human and ovine vascular-derived cells were seeded onto both PGA-P4HB and PCL scaffold strips. After 4 weeks of culture, compaction, tissue formation, mechanical properties and cell phenotypes were compared. TEHVs were cultured to observe retraction of the leaflets in the native-like geometry. After culture, tissues based on PGA-P4HB scaffold showed 50-60% compaction, while PCL-based tissues showed compaction of 0-10%. Tissue formation, stiffness and strength were increased with decreasing passage number; however, this did not influence compaction. Ovine PCL-based tissues did render less strong tissues compared to PGA-P4HB-based tissues. No differences in cell phenotype between the scaffold materials, species or cell passage numbers were observed. This study shows that PCL scaffolds may serve as alternative scaffold materials for human TEHVs with minimal compaction and without compromising tissue composition and properties, while further optimization of ovine TEHVs is needed. Reducing cell expansion time will result in faster generation of TEHVs, providing more rapid treatment for patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E289-E301
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Cell passage
  • Compaction
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Heart valve
  • Mechanical properties
  • Scaffold
  • Tissue engineering


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