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Circ Res. 1999 Dec 3-17;85(12):1173-8.

Novel vascular graft grown within recipient's own peritoneal cavity.

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Centre for Research in Vascular Biology, Department of Anatomical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


A method by which to overcome the clinical symptoms of atherosclerosis is the insertion of a graft to bypass an artery blocked or impeded by plaque. However, there may be insufficient autologous mammary artery for multiple or repeat bypass, saphenous vein may have varicose degenerative alterations that can lead to aneurysm in high-pressure sites, and small-caliber synthetic grafts are prone to thrombus induction and occlusion. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to develop an artificial blood conduit of any required length and diameter from the cells of the host for autologous transplantation. Silastic tubing, of variable length and diameter, was inserted into the peritoneal cavity of rats or rabbits. By 2 weeks, it had become covered by several layers of myofibroblasts, collagen matrix, and a single layer of mesothelium. The Silastic tubing was removed from the harvested implants, and the tube of living tissue was everted such that it now resembled a blood vessel with an inner lining of nonthrombotic mesothelial cells (the "intima"), with a "media" of smooth muscle-like cells (myofibroblasts), collagen, and elastin, and with an outer collagenous "adventitia." The tube of tissue (10 to 20 mm long) was successfully grafted by end-to-end anastomoses into the severed carotid artery or abdominal aorta of the same animal in which they were grown. The transplant remained patent for at least 4 months and developed structures resembling elastic lamellae. The myofibroblasts gained a higher volume fraction of myofilaments and became responsive to contractile agonists, similar to the vessel into which they had been grafted. It is suggested that these nonthrombogenic tubes of living tissue, grown in the peritoneal cavity of the host, may be developed as autologous coronary artery bypass grafts or as arteriovenous access fistulae for hemodialysis patients.

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