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Biomaterials. 2005 Apr;26(11):1237-45.

Tannic acid treatment enhances biostability and reduces calcification of glutaraldehyde fixed aortic wall.

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Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, 501-1 Rhodes Research Center, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.


Progressive degeneration and calcification of glutaraldehyde (Glut) fixed tissues used in cardiovascular surgery restrict their long-term clinical performance. This limited biological stability may be attributable to the inability of Glut to adequately protect certain tissue components such as elastin from enzymatic attack. The aim of our studies was to develop novel tissue-processing techniques targeted specifically at elastin stabilization by using tannic acid (TA), a plant polyphenol capable of protecting elastin from digestion by specific enzymes. In present studies we demonstrated that Glut does not adequately protect porcine aorta from elastase-mediated degradation in vitro. The addition of TA to the Glut fixation process increased the stability of Glut-fixed aorta to elastase digestion by 15-fold and also decreased calcification in the rat subdermal model by 66%. TA was found to be chemically compatible with Glut fixation and did not hinder collagen crosslinking as shown by minor changes in thermal denaturation temperatures, resistance to collagenase and mechanical properties. In vitro and in vivo studies also revealed that TA binding to aortic wall was stable over an extended period of time. TA-mediated elastin stabilization in Glut-fixed cardiovascular implants may significantly extend the clinical durability of these tissue replacements.

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