BACKGROUND: Tissue engineering represents a promising approach for the development of living heart valve replacements. In vivo animal studies of tissue-engineered autologous heart valves have focused on pulmonary valve replacements, leaving the challenge to tissue engineer heart valves suitable for systemic application using human cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: Tissue-engineered human heart valves were analyzed up to 4 weeks and conditioning using bioreactors was compared with static culturing. Tissue formation and mechanical properties increased with time and when using conditioning. Organization of the tissue, in terms of anisotropic properties, increased when conditioning was dynamic in nature. Exposure of the valves to physiological aortic valve flow demonstrated proper opening motion. Closure dynamics were suboptimal, most likely caused by the lower degree of anisotropy when compared with native aortic valve leaflets. CONCLUSIONS: This study presents autologous tissue-engineered heart valves based on human saphenous vein cells and a rapid degrading synthetic scaffold. Tissue properties and mechanical behavior might allow for use as living aortic valve replacements.