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Study probes heart of synthetic heart valves

The quest for a synthetic heart valve that faithfully mimics the original is a step closer to its goal with the Rice University find that a natural polymer called hyaluronan, one of the chief components of skin and connective tissue, can serve as a versatile template for growing spongiosa, the middle tissue layer in the valve’s leaflets.

Aortic Valve
Rice University researchers are studying the characteristics of hydrogels that may be used as a tunable bioscaffold for new spongiosa, the middle tissue layer in the leaflets of heart valves. The ultimate goal is to develop synthetic replacement heart valves that mimic natural ones.
Credit:Dan Puperi/Rice University