Regeneration ability of valvular interstitial cells from diseased heart valve leaflets
Regeneration of heart valves depends on the regeneration of cells residing in the heart valve leaflet, i.e., valvular interstitial cells (VICs). In this study, the regeneration capacity of VICs obtained from healthy and diseased valves of patients with various ages and genders were investigated. The cells obtained from the valves were cultured in vitro for 21 days on our developed standalone nanofibrous substrates. The substrates were pliable. Proliferation of cells, their morphologies, collagen deposition, and gene and protein expression were assayed to compare their regeneration capacity. VICs from healthy valves exhibited higher proliferation and cell spreading in comparison to VICs from diseased valves. However, collagen deposition by VICs from diseased valves was higher compared to the deposition by VICs from healthy valves, irrespective of age and gender of the patients. VICs on nanofibrous substrates showed high vimentin and collagen type I expression; expression of α-SMA showed the reverse trend demonstrating the importance of nanofibers in heart valve tissue engineering and regeneration. Although variations in proliferation, gene, and protein expression of VICs from healthy and diseased valves of patients with various ages and genders were observed, they were not statistically significant. Thus, VICs from a diseased valve maintain the potential to regenerate in a non-degenerative environment, providing an opportunity for tissue engineering of diseased valves.