Valvular heart disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in adults but little is known about the underlying etiology. A better understanding of the genetic and hemodynamic mechanisms involved in growth and remodeling of heart valves during physiological and pathological conditions is needed for a better understanding of valvular heart disease. Here, we report the design of a miniature tissue culture system (MTCS) that allows the culture of mitral valves from perinatal to adult mice. The design of the MTCS is novel in that fine positioning and cannulation can be conducted with hearts of different sizes (perinatal to adult). Perfusion of the heart and hence, culture of the mitral valve in its natural position, occurs in a hydraulically sealed culture bath environment. Using the MTCS, we successfully cultured the mitral valve of adult mouse hearts for 3 days. Histological analysis indicated that the cultured valves remained viable and their extracellular matrix organization was similar to age-matched native valves. Gene expression could also be modified in cultured valves by perfusion with medium containing beta-galactosidase-expressing adenovirus. Thus, the MTCS is a new tool to study the genetic and hemodynamic mechanisms underlying the three-dimensional organization of the heart valves, which could provide insights in the pathology of valvular heart disease and be used in animal models for the development of tissue-engineered heart valves.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Mitral valve
- Valve disease