Porcine glutaraldehyde-fixed pericardium is widely used to replace human heart valves. Despite the stabilizing effects of glutaraldehyde fixation, the lack of endothelialization and the occurrence of immune reactions contribute to calcification and structural valve deterioration, which is particularly significant in young patients, in whom valve longevity is crucial. This report shows an optimization system with which to enhance endothelialization of fixed pericardium to mimic the biological function of a native heart valve. The glutaraldehyde detoxification, together with the application of a biodegradable methacrylated chondroitin sulfate hydrogel, reduces aldehydes cytotoxicity, increases the migration and proliferation of endothelial cells and the recruitment of endothelial cell progenitors, and confers thromboresistance in fixed pericardium. The combination of glutaraldehyde detoxification and a coating with chondroitin sulfate hydrogel promotes in situ mechanisms of endothelialization in fixed pericardium. We offer a new solution for improving the long life of bioprosthetic valves and exploring the means of making valves suitable to endothelialization.
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