A fully effective prosthetic heart valve has not yet been developed. A successful tissue-engineered valve prosthetic must contain a scaffold that fully supports valve endothelial cell function. Recently, topographic features of scaffolds have been shown to influence the behavior of a variety of cell types and should be considered in rational scaffold design and fabrication. The basement membrane of the aortic valve endothelium provides important parameters for tissue engineering scaffold design. This study presents a quantitative characterization of the topographic features of the native aortic valve endothelial basement membrane; topographical features were measured, and quantitative data were generated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and light microscopy. Optimal conditions for basement membrane isolation were established. Histological, immunohistochemical, and TEM analyses following decellularization confirmed basement membrane integrity. SEM and AFM photomicrographs of isolated basement membrane were captured and quantitatively analyzed. The basement membrane of the aortic valve has a rich, felt-like, 3-D nanoscale topography, consisting of pores, fibers, and elevations. All features measured were in the sub-100 nm range. No statistical difference was found between the fibrosal and ventricular surfaces of the cusp. These data provide a rational starting point for the design of extracellular scaffolds with nanoscale topographic features that mimic those found in the native aortic heart valve basement membrane.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology