Inflammatory Response Assessment of a Hybrid Tissue-Engineered Heart Valve Leaflet
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Despite substantial research in the past few decades, only slight progress has been made toward developing biocompatible, tissue-engineered scaffolds for heart valve leaflets that can withstand the dynamic pressure inside the heart. Recent progress on the development of hybrid scaffolds, which are composed of a thin metal mesh enclosed by multi-layered tissue, appear to be promising for heart valve engineering. This approach retains all the advantages of biological scaffolds while developing a strong extracellular matrix backbone to withstand dynamic loading. This study aims to test the inflammatory response of hybrid tissue-engineered leaflets based on characterizing the activation of macrophage cells cultured on the surfaces of the tissue construct. The results indicate that integration of biological layers around a metal mesh core—regardless of its type—may reduce the evoked inflammatory responses by THP-1 monocyte-like cells. This observation implies that masking a metal implant within a tissue construct prior to implantation can hide it from the immune system and may improve the implant’s biocompatibility.