Knitting for heart valve tissue engineering
Knitting is a versatile technology which offers a large portfolio of products and solutions of interest in heart valve (HV) tissue engineering (TE). One of the main advantages of knitting is its ability to construct complex shapes and structures by precisely assembling the yarns in the desired position. With this in mind, knitting could be employed to construct a HV scaffold that closely resembles the authentic valve. This has the potential to reproduce the anisotropic structure that is characteristic of the heart valve with the yarns, in particular the 3-layered architecture of the leaflets. These yarns can provide oriented growth of cells lengthwise and consequently enable the deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in an oriented manner. This technique, therefore, has a potential to provide a functional knitted scaffold, but to achieve that textile engineers need to gain a basic understanding of structural and mechanical aspects of the heart valve and in addition, tissue engineers must acquire the knowledge of tools and capacities that are essential in knitting technology. The aim of this review is to provide a platform to consolidate these two fields as well as to enable an efficient communication and cooperation among these two research areas.
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