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Tissue Eng. 2005 May-Jun;11(5-6):778-86.

Tissue engineering of recellularized small-diameter vascular grafts.

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Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


A tissue-engineered small-diameter arterial graft would be of benefit to patients requiring vascular reconstructive procedures. Our objective was to produce a tissue-engineered vascular graft with a high patency rate that could withstand arterial pressures. Rat arteries were acellularized with a series of detergent solutions, recellularized by incubation with a primary culture of endothelial cells, and implanted as interposition grafts in the common femoral artery. Acellular grafts that had not been recellularized were implanted in a separate group of control animals. No systemic anticoagulants were administered. Grafts were explanted at 4 weeks for definitive patency evaluation and histologic examination; 89% of the recellularized grafts and 29% of the control grafts remained patent. Elastin staining demonstrated the preservation of elastic fibers within the media of the acellular grafts before implantation. Immunohistochemical staining of explanted grafts demonstrated a complete layer of endothelial cells on the lumenal surface in grafts that remained patent. Smooth muscle cells were observed to have repopulated the vessel walls. The mechanical properties of the matrix were comparable to native vessels. Such a strategy may present an alternative to autologous harvest of small vessels for use in vascular bypass procedures.

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