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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2011 April;52(2):251-9


language: English

Veins are no arteries: even moderate arterial pressure induces significant adhesion molecule expression of vein grafts in an ex vivo circulation model

Nolte A. 1, Secker S. 1, Walker T. 1, Greiner T. O. 1, Neumann B. 1, Simon P. 2, Ziemer G. 1, Wendel H. P. 1

1 Department of Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Children Hospital, Clinical Research Laboratory, University Hospital Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany; 2 Department of Internal Medicine,, Division of Sports Medicine, University Hospital Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany


AIM: Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a standard procedure for treatment of coronary heart disease. Eighty percent of all CABGs are performed with venous grafts which then get exposed to an arterial pressure after surgery. This widely used procedure, however, is complicated by the development of alterations in the vein graft wall, leading to a decreased patency rate and graft failure. This study enlightens the influence of an even moderate arterial pressure on the gene expression of adhesion molecules in venous grafts which play a decisive role for the early induction of atherogenesis.
METHODS: Segments of porcine vena jugularis and arteria carotis were mounted in a simulated bypass circuit and subjected to pulsatile flow. Vessel segments were examined for adhesion molecule expression with quantitative real-time – polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and adherence of leukocytes was observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
RESULTS: Veins grafts subjected to an even moderate arterial pressure showed a 14-fold increase of ICAM-1 expression already after 4 hours. An arterial pressure of around 100/80 mmHg was enough to stimulate the adhesion molecule expression Furthermore it led to a 9-fold increase of leukocyte adhesion to the venous endothelium, but, in contrast this was not the case in arteries.
CONCLUSION: This study showed, that already 100 mmHg upregulates the expression of several adhesion molecules in pig veins followed by increased adhesion of leukocytes. Therefore, our data demonstrate the advantage of arteries for CABG, and that new therapeutic strategies are urgently necessary to protect vein grafts either physically or pharmacologically if arteries are not available for CABG.

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