Tissue-engineered acellularized valve xenografts: A comparative animal study between plain acellularized xenografts and autologous endothelial cell seeded acellularized xenografts

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Acellularized valve xenografts are considered a promising way of overcoming the inherent limitations of current prosthetic valves. The aim of this study was to compare the biological responses of an autologous endothelial cell seeded acellularized xenograft (AAX) and a plain acellularized xenograft (PAX) implanted in the pulmonary valve leaflet in the same animal.


Endothelial cells were isolated and cultured from the jugular vein of goats. Porcine valve leaflets were acellularized with Nacl-SDS, and for AAX, leaflets were then seeded with autologous endothelial cells. A PAX and an AAX were implanted as double pulmonary valve leaflet replacement in the same animal in a goat model (n=6). After sacrifice, the implanted valve leaflet tissues were retrieved and analyzed visually and under a light microscope.

Results and Conclusions:

Six animals were sacrificed as scheduled during the short-term (6 and 24 hours), mid-term (1 week and 1 month) and long-term (3 and 6 months). Gross and ultrasonographic examinations revealed good valve function with no thrombosis but with slight thickening. Microscopic analysis of the leaflets showed abundant cellular ingrowth into the acellularized leaflets over time. The role of endothelial cell seeding remains controversial. This animal experiment demonstrates the practical feasibility of using acellularized valve xenografts. (Int J Artif Organs 2004; 27: 501-8)

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