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Biomed Eng Online. 2011 Jul 21;10:62. doi: 10.1186/1475-925X-10-62.

Pulsatile ex vivo perfusion of human saphenous vein grafts under controlled pressure conditions increases MMP-2 expression.

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  • 1German Heart Center Munich at the Technische Universität München, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Lazarettstrasse 36, D-80636 Munich, Germany. dummler@dhm.mhn.de



The use of human saphenous vein grafts (HSVGs) as a bypass conduit is a standard procedure in the treatment of coronary artery disease while their early occlusion remains a major problem.


We have developed an ex vivo perfusion system, which uses standardized and strictly controlled hemodynamic parameters for the pulsatile and non-static perfusion of HSVGs to guarantee a reliable analysis of molecular parameters under different pressure conditions. Cell viability of HSVGs (n = 12) was determined by the metabolic conversion of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) into a purple formazan dye.


Under physiological flow rates (10 mmHg) HSVGs remained viable for two weeks. Their exposure to arterial conditions (100 mmHg) was possible for one week without important reduction in viability. Baseline expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) after venous perfusion (2.2 ± 0.5, n = 5) was strongly up-regulated after exposure to arterial conditions for three days (19.8 ± 4.3) or five days (23.9 ± 6.1, p < 0.05). Zymographic analyses confirmed this increase on the protein level. Our results suggest that expression and activity of MMP-2 are strongly increased after exposure of HSVGs to arterial hemodynamic conditions compared to physiological conditions.


Therefore, our system might be helpful to more precisely understand the molecular mechanisms leading to an early failure of HSVGs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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