Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 883–893 | Cite as

Non-Destructive Analysis of Extracellular Matrix Development in Cardiovascular Tissue-Engineered Constructs

  • M. Tuemen
  • D. V. A. Nguyen
  • J. Raffius
  • T. C. Flanagan
  • M. Dietrich
  • J. Frese
  • T. Schmitz-Rode
  • S. JockenhoevelEmail author


In the field of tissue engineering, there is an increasing demand for non-destructive methods to quantify the synthesis of extracellular matrix (ECM) components such as collagens, elastin or sulphated glycosaminoglycans (sGAGs) in vitro as a quality control before clinical use. In this study, procollagen I carboxyterminal peptide (PICP), procollagen III aminoterminal peptide (PIIINP), tropoelastin and sGAGs are investigated for their potential use as non-destructive markers in culture medium of statically cultivated cell-seeded fibrin gels. Measurement of PICP as marker for type I collagen synthesis, and PIIINP as marker of type III collagen turnover, correlated well with the hydroxyproline content of the fibrin gels, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.98 and 0.97, respectively. The measurement of tropoelastin as marker of elastin synthesis correlated with the amount of elastin retained in fibrin gels with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.99. sGAGs were retained in fibrin gels, but were not detectable in culture medium at any time of measurement. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the potential of PICP and tropoelastin as non-destructive culture medium markers for collagen and elastin synthesis. To our knowledge, this is the first study in cardiovascular tissue engineering investigating the whole of here proposed biomarkers of ECM synthesis to monitor the maturation process of developing tissue non-invasively, but for comprehensive assessment of ECM development, these biomarkers need to be investigated in further studies, employing dynamic cultivation conditions and more complex tissue constructs.


Extracellular matrix Collagen Elastin Sulphated glycosaminoglycans Biomarkers Non-destructive monitoring 



The present work has been done within a project of the Foerdergemeinschaft Deutsche Kinderherzzentren e.V. and within the Patim project, which is part of the medical technology project and is funded by the European Union (EFRE-programme) and the NRW-Ziel2 programme. Furthermore we would like to thank the Department of Pathology, University Hospital Aachen, Germany. Author Disclosure Statement: No competing financial interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Tuemen
    • 1
  • D. V. A. Nguyen
    • 1
  • J. Raffius
    • 1
  • T. C. Flanagan
    • 2
  • M. Dietrich
    • 1
  • J. Frese
    • 1
  • T. Schmitz-Rode
    • 1
  • S. Jockenhoevel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Tissue Engineering and Textile Implants, Applied Medical Engineering, Helmholtz InstituteRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Medical Science, Health Sciences CentreUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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