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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2020 Sep 10

DOI: 10.23736/S0021-9509.20.11582-9

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Advancing tissue-engineered vascular grafts via their endothelialization and mechanical conditioning

Jeremy ANTONYSHYN 1, 2, Katya A. D'COSTA, J. Paul SANTERRE 1, 2, 3

1 Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; 2 Translational Biology and Engineering Program, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, Toronto, Canada; 3 Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


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Tissue engineering has garnered significant attention for its potential to address the predominant modes of failure of small diameter vascular prostheses, namely mid-graft thrombosis and anastomotic intimal hyperplasia. In this review, we describe two main features underpinning the promise of tissue-engineered vascular grafts: the incorporation of an anti-thrombogenic endothelium, and the generation of a structurally and biomechanically mimetic extracellular matrix. From the early attempts at the in-vitro endothelialization of vascular prostheses in the 1970s through to the ongoing clinical trials of fully tissue-engineered vascular grafts, the historical advancements and unresolved challenges that characterize the current state-of-the-art are summarized in a manner that establishes a guide for the development of an effective vascular prosthesis for small diameter arterial reconstruction. The importance of endothelial cell purity and their arterial specification for the prevention of both diffuse neo-intimal hyperplasia and the accelerated development of atherosclerotic lesions is delineated. Additionally, the need for an extracellular matrix that recapitulates both the composition and structure of native elastic arteries to facilitate the protracted stability and patency of an engineered vaso-active conduit is described. Finally, the capacity of alternative sources of cells and mechanical conditioning to overcome these technical barriers to the clinical translation of an effective small diameter vascular prosthesis is discussed. In conclusion, this review provides an overview of the historical development of tissue-engineered vascular grafts, highlighting specific areas warranting further research, and commentating on the outlook of a clinically feasible and therapeutically efficacious vascular prosthesis for small diameter arterial reconstruction.


KEY WORDS: Vascular grafting; Blood vessel prosthesis; Endothelium; Extracellular Matrix; Tissue engineering

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