Tissue growth and remodeling are known to govern mechanical homeostasis in biological tissue, but their relative contributions to homeostasis remain unclear. Here, we use mechanical models, fueled by experimental findings, to demonstrate that growth and remodeling have different effects on heart valve stretch homeostasis during physiological postnatal development. Two developmental stages were considered: early-stage (from infant to adolescent) and late-stage (from adolescent to adult) development. Our models indicated that growth and remodeling play opposing roles in preserving tissue stretch and with time. During early-stage development, excessive tissue stretch was decreased by tissue growth and increased by remodeling. In contrast, during late-stage development tissue stretch was decreased by remodeling and increased by growth. Our findings contribute to an improved understanding of native heart valve adaptation throughout life, and are highly relevant for the development of tissue-engineered heart valves.
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