The effect of heparin hydrogel embedding on glutaraldehyde fixed bovine pericardial tissues: Mechanical behavior and anticalcification potential

  • Adel Badria
  • Petros Koutsoukos
  • Sotirios Korossis
  • Dimosthenis MavrilasEmail author
Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization


Heart valve diseases remain common in industrialized countries. Bioprosthetic heart valves, introduced as free of anticoagulation therapy alternatives to mechanical substitutes. Still they suffer from long term failure due to calcification. Different treatment methods introduced to inhibit calcification, have so far been limited in success. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) possess properties including high negative charge, anticoagulation and anti-inflammatory activity that make them a potential solution for calcification problem. In this study, heparin hydrogel was prepared and characterized both chemically and mechanically. After that, heparin hydrogel embedded bovine pericardial tissues, fixed with glutaraldehyde, were produced and tested for their mechanical behavior and anticalcifcation potential in vitro using the constant composition model. In the calcification experiments, tissues were divided into three groups: a) Controls without treatment, b) Hydrogel treated tissues and c) Tissues with raw heparin dissolved in the calcification solution. The results showed that embedding of tissue with hydrogel had no stiffening effect on its mechanical behavior. Calcification assessment showed a significant efficacy on inhibition of calcium phosphate deposition of hydrogel treated (second group) in comparison to untreated tissues (control, first group). Calcification inhibition potential was very similar in both the second and raw heparin (third group). Histological data confirmed the obtained results, suggesting that heparin treatment is a promising anticalcification agent.



This research was supported by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007-2013/ under REA grant agreement n° 317512. I also would like to thank Nikolas Papachristo very much for his help at the histology work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adel Badria
    • 1
  • Petros Koutsoukos
    • 2
  • Sotirios Korossis
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dimosthenis Mavrilas
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, Laboratory of Biomechanics & Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  3. 3.Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplantation and Vascular SurgeryHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  4. 4.Lower Saxony Centre for Biomedical Engineering Implant Research and DevelopmentHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany

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