Collagen synthesis by mesenchymal stem cells and aortic valve interstitial cells in response to mechanical stretch

Ku, Ching-Hsin; Johnson, Philip H.; Batten, Puspa; Sarathchandra, Padmini; Chambers, Rachel C.; Taylor, Patricia M.; Yacoub, Magdi H.; Chester, Adrian H.
August 2006
Cardiovascular Research;Aug2006, Vol. 71 Issue 3, p548
Academic Journal
Abstract: Objective: The synthesis of appropriate extracellular matrix by cells in tissue engineered heart valve constructs will be important for the maintenance of valve cusp integrity and function. We have examined and compared the capacity of mesenchymal stem cells to synthesise collagen in response to stretch in comparison with native aortic valve interstitial cells. Methods: Cells were stretched on a Flexercell FX4000 apparatus and total collagen synthesis was measured by the incorporation of [3H]-proline. The effect of stretch on gene expression of different collagen types was assessed by RT-PCR. Results: There was a significant (p <0.01) increase in [3H]-proline incorporation into stretched valve cells at 10%, 14% and 20% stretch. The response of mesenchymal stem cells at 14% stretch was similar to that seen in the valve cells. Incorporation of [3H]-proline into soluble proteins in the cell media was significantly higher (p <0.01) only at 14% and 20% stretch in valve interstitial cells. These effects were shared with mesenchymal stem cells at 14% stretch. RT-PCR experiments demonstrated that 14% stretch up-regulated levels of mRNA for COL3A1 gene (type III collagen) but did not increase the expression of COL1A1 gene (type I collagen) in valve interstitial cells. However, both collagen genes could be detected in non-stretched and stretched mesenchymal stem cells. There was no evidence that the mesenchymal stem cells had started to adopt an osteoblastic cell phenotype in response to stretch. Conclusions: Collagen synthesis by valve interstitial cells is dependent upon the degree and duration of stretch. This response can be mimicked closely by exposure of mesenchymal stem cells to the same stretching profile. These properties could have important implications for the choice of cells and programme of conditioning with which to tissue engineer heart valves.


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