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J Anat. 2006 Oct;209(4):495-502.

Cell-matrix biology in vascular tissue engineering.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


We are developing biocompatible small-calibre vascular substitutes based on polymeric scaffolds that incorporate cell-matrix signals to enhance vascular cell attachment and function. Our graft scaffold comprises an outer electrostatically spun porous polyurethane layer seeded with smooth muscle cells, and a luminal polycaprolactone layer for endothelial cell attachment. Vascular cell adhesion properties of three vascular elastic fibre molecules, tropoelastin, fibrillin-1 and fibulin-5, have been defined, and adhesion fragments optimized. These fragments are being used to coat the scaffolds to enhance luminal endothelial cell attachment, and to regulate smooth muscle cell attachment and function. Tropoelastin-based cell seeding materials are also being developed. In this way, vascular cell-matrix biology is enhancing graft design.

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