Abstract 16949: Failing Fontan: Genesis of a Subpulmonary Neo-ventricle From Engineered Heart Tissue
Introduction: Fontan palliation is the treatment of choice for patients with morphological or functional univentricular hearts. The unphysiologic and non-pulsatile pulmonary blood flow results in multiorgan complications and a poor long-term outcome. We evaluated graft survival and histomorphology of a pulsatile Fontan conduit generated from Engineered Heart Tissue (EHT) after implantation in a rat model.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that EHT matures and remains contractile in the setting of venous (Fontan-like) preload.
Methods: EHT was generated from ventricular cardiomyocytes of neonatal Wistar rats, fibrinogen, thrombin and DMEM. After culture for 14 days constructs were implanted around the right superior vena cava of Wistar rats (n=12, 300-350 g). Immunosupression was achieved by daily subcutaneous injection of Cyclosporin A (25 mg/kg BW) and Methylprednisolone (2 mg/kg BW). MRI (Bruker) was used to assess condensation of EHTs in vivo. Animals were euthanized after 7, 14, 28 and 56 days postoperatively for histomorphological analysis. Transmission electron microscopy was used to evaluate sarcomeric integrity of cardiomyocytes within the construct.
Results: In culture, EHTs started beating around day 8 and remained contractile in vivo throughout the experiment (d7=3/3, d14=2/3, d28=3/3, d56=2/3). All animals survived circumferential implantation of EHTs around the right SVC via a right thoracotomy. MRI (d14, n=3) revealed no constriction or stenosis of the SVC by the constructs. Hematoxylin and Eosin staining showed densely packed bundles of cardiomyocytes within the EHT conduit and intense vascularisation. Immunolabeling of actinin and connexin 43 indicated adequate maturation of cardiomyocytes after grafting around the right SVC in rats.
Conclusions: EHTs placed around the superior caval vein of Wistar rats survive and contract for a considerable time after implantation. Histomorphology revealed a matured phenotype of grafted cardiomyocytes and an adequate vascularisation. The functional benefit of a contractile neo-ventricle to propel pulmonary blood flow in Fontan patients remains to be evaluated.
Author Disclosures: D. Biermann: Research Grant; Significant; German Society for Paediatric Cardiology. A. Eder: None. H. Seoudy: None. F. Arndt: None. T. Schuler: None. K. Peldschus: None. M. Kaul: None. H. Reichenspurner: None. T. Mir: None. A. Riso: None. R. Kozlik-Feldmann: None. A. Hansen: None. T. Eschenhagen: None. J. Sachweh: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.