Towards patient-specific material-driven in situ cardiovascular regeneration: The influence of estrogen.
The in situ tissue engineering (TE) principle heavily relies on the intrinsic regenerative capacity of the human body. However, patient-specific characteristics are rarely taken into account. The aim of this project is to gain insight in the influence of the patient-specific characteristics sex and age on the material-driven in situ regenerative processes. Sex hormones, which vary between the sexes and with aging are thought to affect the cardiovascular and immune system. For example, estrogen is known to have a cardioprotective effect and steer the macrophage polarization towards the anti-inflammatory, pro-healing phenotype. Macrophages are thought to be one of the key regulators in the in situ regenerative response and their interplay with (myo)fibroblasts is essential for steering towards functional tissue formation. Therefore, we will study the effects of estrogen on the initial macrophage response to a degradable cardiovascular graft and the macrophage-guided tissue regeneration in such grafts. Both a humanized in vitro setup, mimicking physiological hemodynamical loading and patient-specific hormone levels, and in vivo animal models will be used.