Measurements of the effects of decellularization on viscoelastic properties of tissues in ovine, baboon, and human heart valves

Tissue Eng Part A. 2012 Feb;18(3-4):423-31. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0677. Epub 2011 Oct 26.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Elasticity / physiology*
  • Heart Valves / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papio / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Valve / physiology
  • Sheep, Domestic / physiology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Torsion, Mechanical
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult