The cardiotomy reservoir – a preliminary evaluation of a new cell source for cardiovascular tissue engineering



Cell sources for cardiovascular tissue engineering (TE) are scant. However, the need for an ideal TE cardiovascular implant persists. We investigated the cardiotomy reservoir (CR) as a potential cell source that is more accessible and less ethically problematic.


CR (n = 10) were removed from the bypass system after surgery. Isolation was performed using different isolation methods: blood samples were taken from the cardiopulmonary bypass and centrifuged at low density. The venous filter screen was cut out and placed into petri dishes for cultivation. The spongelike filter was removed, washed and treated in the same way as the blood samples. After cultivation, cell lines of fibroblasts (FB) and endothelial cells (EC) were obtained for analysis. The cells were seeded on polyurethane patches and analyzed via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Life/Dead assay and immunohistochemistry.


No correlation between age, time of surgery and quality of cells was observed. The successful extraction of FB and was proven by positive staining results for TE-7, CD31 and vWF. Cell morphology, cytoskeleton staining and quantification of proliferation using WST-1 assay resembled the cells of the control group in all ways. The topography of a confluent and vital cell layer after cell seeding was displayed by SEM analysis, Life/Dead Assay and immunohistochemistry. The establishment of an extracellular matrix (ECM) was proven by positive staining for collagen IV, laminin, fibronectin and elastin.


Viable FB and EC cell lines were extracted from the CR after surgery. Easy access and high availability make this cell source destined for widespread application in cardiovascular tissue engineering.

Post author correction




Sophie von Nathusius, Fabian König, Ralf Sodian, Frank Born, Christian Hagl, Nikolaus Thierfelder

Article History


Financial support: No grants or funding have been received for this study.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has financial interest related to this study to disclose.

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  • Department of Cardiac Surgery, Laboratory for Tissue Engineering, Grosshadern Medical Centre, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich - Germany
  • Sophie von Nathusius and Fabian König contributed equally to this publication.

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