Abstract: Heart valve disease (HVD) is a globally increasing problem and accounts for thousands of deaths yearly. Currently end-stage HVD can only be treated by total valve replacement, however with major drawbacks. To overcome the limitations of conventional substitutes, a new clinical approach based on cell colonization of artificially manufactured heart valves has been developed. Even though this attempt seems promising, a confluent and stable cell layer has not yet been achieved due to the high stresses present in this area of the human heart. This study describes a bioreactor with a new approach to cell conditioning of tissue engineered heart valves. The bioreactor provides a low pulsatile flow that grants the correct opening and closing of the valve without high shear stresses. The flow rate can be regulated allowing a steady and sensitive conditioning process. Furthermore, the correct functioning of the valve can be monitored by endoscope surveillance in real-time. The tubeless and modular design allows an accurate, simple and faultless assembly of the reactor in a laminar flow chamber. It can be concluded that the bioreactor provides a strong tool for dynamic pre-conditioning and monitoring of colonized heart valve prostheses physiologically exposed to shear stress.
Keywords: bioreactor; tissue engineering; dynamic cell conditioning; heart valve disease
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König, F.; Hollweck, T.; Pfeifer, S.; Reichart, B.; Wintermantel, E.; Hagl, C.; Akra, B. A Pulsatile Bioreactor for Conditioning of Tissue-Engineered Cardiovascular Constructs under Endoscopic Visualization. J. Funct. Biomater. 2012, 3, 480-496.
König F, Hollweck T, Pfeifer S, Reichart B, Wintermantel E, Hagl C, Akra B. A Pulsatile Bioreactor for Conditioning of Tissue-Engineered Cardiovascular Constructs under Endoscopic Visualization. Journal of Functional Biomaterials. 2012; 3(3):480-496.
König, Fabian; Hollweck, Trixi; Pfeifer, Stefan; Reichart, Bruno; Wintermantel, Erich; Hagl, Christian; Akra, Bassil. 2012. "A Pulsatile Bioreactor for Conditioning of Tissue-Engineered Cardiovascular Constructs under Endoscopic Visualization." J. Funct. Biomater. 3, no. 3: 480-496.