A new approach to heart valve tissue engineering: mimicking the heart ventricle with a ventricular assist device in a novel bioreactor.

Andreas Kaasi, Idágene A. Cestari, Noedir A G. Stolf, Adolfo A. Leirner, Ole Hassager, Ismar N Cestari

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The 'biomimetic' approach to tissue engineering usually involves the use of a bioreactor mimicking physiological parameters whilst supplying nutrients to the developing tissue. Here we present a new heart valve bioreactor, having as its centrepiece a ventricular assist device (VAD), which exposes the cell-scaffold constructs to a wider array of mechanical forces. The pump of the VAD has two chambers: a blood and a pneumatic chamber, separated by an elastic membrane. Pulsatile air-pressure is generated by a piston-type actuator and delivered to the pneumatic chamber, ejecting the fluid in the blood chamber. Subsequently, applied vacuum to the pneumatic chamber causes the blood chamber to fill. A mechanical heart valve was placed in the VAD's inflow position. The tissue engineered (TE) valve was placed in the outflow position. The VAD was coupled in series with a Windkessel compliance chamber, variable throttle and reservoir, connected by silicone tubings. The reservoir sat on an elevated platform, allowing adjustment of ventricular preload between 0 and 11 mmHg. To allow for sterile gaseous exchange between the circuit interior and exterior, a 0.2 µm filter was placed at the reservoir. Pressure and flow were registered downstream of the TE valve. The circuit was filled with culture medium and fitted in a standard 5% CO(2) incubator set at 37 °C. Pressure and flow waveforms were similar to those obtained under physiological conditions for the pulmonary circulation. The 'cardiomimetic' approach presented here represents a new perspective to conventional biomimetic approaches in TE, with potential advantages. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)292-300
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Cardiomimetic approach
  • Windkessel
  • Bioreactor
  • Heart valves
  • Tissue engineering
  • Ventricular assist device

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