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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;735:257-70.

Evaluation of the blood compatibility of materials, cells, and tissues: basic concepts, test models, and practical guidelines.

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Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory C5:3, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Medicine today uses a wide range of biomaterials, most of which make contact with blood permanently or transiently upon implantation. Contact between blood and nonbiological materials or cells or tissue of nonhematologic origin initiates activation of the cascade systems (complement, contact activation/coagulation) of the blood, which induces platelet and leukocyte activation. Although substantial progress regarding biocompatibility has been made, many materials and medical treatment procedures are still associated with severe side effects. Therefore, there is a great need for adequate models and guidelines for evaluating the blood compatibility of biomaterials. Due to the substantial amount of cross talk between the different cascade systems and cell populations in the blood, it is advisable to use an intact system for evaluation. Here, we describe three such in vitro models for the evaluation of the biocompatibility of materials and therapeutic cells and tissues. The use of different anticoagulants and specific inhibitors in order to be able to dissect interactions between the different cascade systems and cells of the blood is discussed. In addition, we describe two clinically relevant medical treatment modalities, the integration of titanium implants and transplantation of islets of Langerhans to patients with type 1 diabetes, whose mechanisms of action we have addressed using these in vitro models.

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