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Nat Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):1148-53. doi: 10.1038/nm.2821.

Fast-degrading elastomer enables rapid remodeling of a cell-free synthetic graft into a neoartery.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Host remodeling is important for the success of medical implants, including vascular substitutes. Synthetic and tissue-engineered grafts have yet to show clinical effectiveness in arteries smaller than 5 mm in diameter. We designed cell-free biodegradable elastomeric grafts that degrade rapidly to yield neoarteries nearly free of foreign materials 3 months after interposition grafting in rat abdominal aorta. This design focuses on enabling rapid host remodeling. Three months after implantation, the neoarteries resembled native arteries in the following aspects: regular, strong and synchronous pulsation; a confluent endothelium and contractile smooth muscle layers; expression of elastin, collagen and glycosaminoglycan; and tough and compliant mechanical properties. Therefore, future studies employing large animal models more representative of human vascular regeneration are warranted before clinical translation. This cell-free approach represents a philosophical shift from the prevailing focus on cells in vascular tissue engineering and may have an impact on regenerative medicine in general.

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