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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 Apr;19(4):424-30.

Fibrin gel -- advantages of a new scaffold in cardiovascular tissue engineering.

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Clinic for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.



The field of tissue engineering deals with the creation of tissue structures based on patient cells. The scaffold plays a central role in the creation of 3-D structures in cardiovascular tissue engineering like small vessels or heart valve prosthesis. An ideal scaffold should have tissue-like mechanical properties and a complete immunologic integrity. As an alternative scaffold the use of fibrin gel was investigated.


Preliminary, the degradation of the fibrin gel was controlled by the supplementation of aprotinin to the culture medium. To prevent tissue from shrinking a mechanical fixation of the gel with 3-D microstructure culture plates and a chemical fixation with poly-L-lysine in different fixation techniques were studied. The thickness of the gel layer was changed from 1 to 3 mm. The tissue development was analysed by light, transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Collagen production was detected by the measurement of hydroxyproline. Injection molding techniques were designed for the formation of complex 3-D tissue structures.


The best tissue development was observed at an aprotinin concentration of 20 microg per cc culture medium. The chemical border fixation of the gel by poly-L-lysine showed the best tissue development. Up to a thickness of 3 mm no nutrition problems were observed in the light and transmission electron microscopy. The molding of a simplified valve conduit was possible by the newly developed molding technique.


Fibrin gel combines a number of important properties of an ideal scaffold. It can be produced as a complete autologous scaffold. It is moldable and degradation is controllable by the use of aprotinin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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