Comparison of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Source Differentiation Toward Human Pediatric Aortic Valve Interstitial Cells within 3D Engineered Matrices

Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2015 Aug;21(8):795-807. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2014.0589. Epub 2015 Apr 13.


Living tissue-engineered heart valves (TEHV) would be a major benefit for children who require a replacement with the capacity for growth and biological integration. A persistent challenge for TEHV is accessible human cell source(s) that can mimic native valve cell phenotypes and matrix remodeling characteristics that are essential for long-term function. Mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow (BMMSC) or adipose tissue (ADMSC) are intriguing cell sources for TEHV, but they have not been compared with pediatric human aortic valve interstitial cells (pHAVIC) in relevant 3D environments. In this study, we compared the spontaneous and induced multipotency of ADMSC and BMMSC with that of pHAVIC using different induction media within three-dimensional (3D) bioactive hybrid hydrogels with material modulus comparable to that of aortic heart valve leaflets. pHAVIC possessed some multi-lineage differentiation capacity in response to induction media, but limited to the earliest stages and much less potent than either ADMSC or BMMSC. ADMSC expressed cell phenotype markers more similar to pHAVIC when conditioned in basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) containing HAVIC growth medium, while BMMSC generally expressed similar extracellular matrix remodeling characteristics to pHAVIC. Finally, we covalently attached bFGF to PEG monoacrylate linkers and further covalently immobilized in the 3D hybrid hydrogels. Immobilized bFGF upregulated vimentin expression and promoted the fibroblastic differentiation of pHAVIC, ADMSC, and BMMSC. These findings suggest that stem cells retain a heightened capacity for osteogenic differentiation in 3D culture, but can be shifted toward fibroblast differentiation through matrix tethering of bFGF. Such a strategy is likely important for utilizing stem cell sources in heart valve tissue engineering applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / cytology
  • Aortic Valve / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Osteogenesis*