5-HT(2B) antagonism arrests non-canonical TGF-β1-induced valvular myofibroblast differentiation.
BACKGROUND Heart valve bioprostheses for cardiac valve replacement are fabricated by xeno- or allograft tissues. Decellularization techniques and tissue engineering technologies applied to these tissues might contribute to the reduction in risk of calcification and immune response. Surprisingly, there are few data on the cell phenotypes obtained after cellularizing these naturally-derived biomaterials in comparison to those expressed in the intact valve. METHODS Aortic valve interstitial cells (VIC) were used to repopulate the corresponding valve leaflets after a novel decellularization procedure based on the use of ionic and nonionic detergents. VIC from leaflet microexplants at the third passage were utilized to repopulate the decellularized leaflets. Intact, decellularized and repopulated valve leaflets and cultured VIC were examined by immunocytochemical procedures with a panel of antibodies to smooth muscle and nonmuscle differentiation antigens. Intact and cellularized leaflets were also investigated with Western blotting and transmission electron microscopy, respectively. RESULTS Myofibroblasts and smooth muscle cells (SMC) were mostly localized to the ventricularis of the leaflet whereas fibroblasts were dispersed unevenly. Cultured VIC were comprised of myofibroblasts and fibroblasts with no evidence of endothelial cells and SMC. Two weeks after VIC seeding into decellularized leaflets, grafted cells were found penetrating the bioscaffold. The immunophenotypic and ultrastructural properties of the grafted cells indicated that a VIC heterogeneous mesenchymal cell population was present: fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, SMC, and endothelial cells. CONCLUSIONS VIC seeding on detergent-treated valve bioscaffolds has the cellular potential to reconstruct a viable aortic valve.