Tissue engineered pulmonary valves (TEPV) represent a conceptually appealing alternative to current non-viable prosthetic valves and valved conduits for the repair of congenital or acquired lesions in pediatric patients. In addition to the identification of clinically feasible cell sources, engineered soft tissues such as the TEPV require scaffolds with anisotropic mechanical properties that undergo large deformations (not possible with current PGA/PLLA non-wovens) coupled with controllable biodegradative and cell-adhesive characteristics. Electrospun PEUU (ES-PEUU) scaffolds have been produced with tensile biaxial mechanical properties remarkably similar to the native pulmonary valve (Fig. 1-a), including the ability to undergo large physiologic strains and exhibit pronounced mechanical anisotropy. Moreover, a novel cell micro-integration technique has been developed that allows for successful cell integration directly into the scaffolds at the time of fabrication, eliminating cellular penetration problems. These encouraging results suggest that ES-PEUU scaffolds micro-integrated with the appropriate cells and can serve as successful TEPV scaffolds. In the present study, we conducted a finite element based analysis of TEPV leaflets (Fig. 1-b) under quasi-static transvalvular pressure to demonstrate the impact of ES-PEUU mechanical anisotropy on scaffold strain distributions.

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