A cyclic stretch and perfusion bioreactor was designed to culture large diameter engineered tissue tubes for heart valve applications. In this bioreactor, tubular tissues consisting of dermal fibroblasts in a sacrificial fibrin gel scaffold were placed over porated latex support sleeves and mounted in a custom bioreactor. Pulsatile flow of culture medium into the system resulted in cyclic stretching as well as ablumenal, lumenal, and transmural flow (perfusion). In this study, lumenal remodeling, composition, and mechanical strength and stiffness were compared for tissues cyclically stretched in this bioreactor on either the porated latex sleeves or solid latex sleeves, which did not permit lumenal or transmural flow. Tissues cyclically stretched on porated sleeves had regions of increased lumenal remodeling and cellularity that were localized to the columns of pores in the latex sleeve. A CFD model was developed with COMSOL Multiphysics® to predict flow of culture medium in and around the tissue, and the predictions suggest that the enhanced lumenal remodeling was likely a result of elevated shear stresses and transmural velocity in these regions. This work highlights the beneficial effects of increased nutrient transport and flow stimulation for accelerating in vitro tissue remodeling.
- COMSOL Multiphysics
- Tissue-engineered heart valve
- Transmural flow