Heart valve scaffold fabrication: Bioinspired control of macro-scale morphology, mechanics and micro-structure

Biomaterials. 2018 Jan;150:25-37. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.10.011. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


Valvular heart disease is currently treated with mechanical valves, which benefit from longevity, but are burdened by chronic anticoagulation therapy, or with bioprosthetic valves, which have reduced thromboembolic risk, but limited durability. Tissue engineered heart valves have been proposed to resolve these issues by implanting a scaffold that is replaced by endogenous growth, leaving autologous, functional leaflets that would putatively eliminate the need for anticoagulation and avoid calcification. Despite the diversity in fabrication strategies and encouraging results in large animal models, control over engineered valve structure-function remains at best partial. This study aimed to overcome these limitations by introducing double component deposition (DCD), an electrodeposition technique that employs multi-phase electrodes to dictate valve macro and microstructure and resultant function. Results in this report demonstrate the capacity of the DCD method to simultaneously control scaffold macro-scale morphology, mechanics and microstructure while producing fully assembled stent-less multi-leaflet valves composed of microscopic fibers. DCD engineered valve characterization included: leaflet thickness, biaxial properties, bending properties, and quantitative structural analysis of multi-photon and scanning electron micrographs. Quasi-static ex-vivo valve coaptation testing and dynamic organ level functional assessment in a pressure pulse duplicating device demonstrated appropriate acute valve functionality.

Keywords: Aortic; Bending mechanics; Biaxial mechanics; Electrodeposition; Electrospinning; Mitral; Pulmonary heart valve structure; Tissue engineered heart valve; Tricuspid.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys / chemistry
  • Aluminum / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve / abnormalities
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Electroplating / methods
  • Heart Valve Diseases / therapy*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve / abnormalities
  • Models, Animal
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Styrene / chemistry
  • Swine
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • Tricuspid Valve / abnormalities


  • Alloys
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Styrene
  • Aluminum