Preservation of aortic root architecture and properties using a detergent-enzymatic perfusion protocol

Biomaterials. 2014 Feb;35(6):1907-13. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.11.053. Epub 2013 Dec 8.


Aortic valve degeneration and dysfunction is one of the leading causes for morbidity and mortality. The conventional heart-valve prostheses have significant limitations with either life-long anticoagulation therapeutic associated bleeding complications (mechanical valves) or limited durability (biological valves). Tissue engineered valve replacement recently showed encouraging results, but the unpredictable outcome of tissue degeneration is likely associated to the extensive tissue processing methods. We believe that optimized decellularization procedures may provide aortic valve/root grafts improved durability. We present an improved/innovative decellularization approach using a detergent-enzymatic perfusion method, which is both quicker and has less exposure of matrix degenerating detergents, compared to previous protocols. The obtained graft was characterized for its architecture, extracellular matrix proteins, mechanical and immunological properties. We further analyzed the engineered aortic root for biocompatibility by cell adhesion and viability in vitro and heterotopic implantation in vivo. The developed decellularization protocol was substantially reduced in processing time whilst maintaining tissue integrity. Furthermore, the decellularized aortic root remained bioactive without eliciting any adverse immunological reaction. Cell adhesion and viability demonstrated the scaffold's biocompatibility. Our optimized decellularization protocol may be useful to develop the next generation of clinical valve prosthesis with a focus on improved mechanical properties and durability.

Keywords: Aortic root; Decellularization; Durability; Mechanical properties; Tissue engineered.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve / cytology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Detergents
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Detergents