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Recent advances in cardiovascular tissue engineering

Basic Science

Tissue engineering in the cardiovascular system is in the focus of many research laboratory and commercial entities.

In this session, A. Hilfiker from Hannover summarized the Hannover experience of tissue engineered heart valves. This group used allogeneic valves that were processed to eliminate the cells from the valves but with preservation of the extracellular components of the valves. The valves were seeded with autologous endothelial cells and were implanted in the cell-donor pediatric patients in the pulmonary position. Long term follow up showed growth of the implanted valves with no significant dysfunction. Currently this group is using allogeneic processed valves without seeded cells with success as reported.

W-H Zimmermann from Goettingen reviewed the use of embryonic stem cells for engineering myocardium. Apparently, when 25% of the cells in the tissue engineered myocardium were non-myocytes, the construct was far more similar to myocardium than when only myocytes were presented in the construct. Potential clinical use of tissue engineered myocardium may be impractical as the time that is needed for isolation of enough cells may be very long. He therefore suggests that parthenogenesis may be the way for rapid production of enough cells for tissue engineering of myocardium in a clinical relevant time frame.

J. Rouwkema from Enschede reviewed the issue of vascularisation of tissue engineering. He showed that by optimizing geometry of the engineered tissue and by in vitro pre-implantation, vascularisation can be addressed.

J.Hoying from Louisville reviewed the time-frame of development of microcirculation in tissue engineered implantation. He showed that in the first week sprouting angiogenesis occurs while neovascular remodeling takes place in the second week. Effective tissue perfusion occurs only at the third week after implantation following vascular maturation. He also showed that the stromal vascular fraction of fat can be used for creation of vascular supply of tissue engineering.




Recent advances in cardiovascular tissue engineering
The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.