The durability of prosthetic arteriovenous (AV) grafts for hemodialysis access is low, predominantly due to stenotic lesions in the venous outflow tract and infectious complications. Tissue engineered blood vessels (TEBVs) might offer a tailor-made autologous alternative for prosthetic grafts. We have designed a method in which TEBVs are grown in vivo, by utilizing the foreign body response to subcutaneously implanted polymeric rods in goats, resulting in the formation of an autologous fibrocellular tissue capsule (TC). One month after implantation, the polymeric rod is extracted, whereupon TCs (length 6 cm, diameter 6.8 mm) were grafted as arteriovenous conduit between the carotid artery and jugular vein of the same goats. At time of grafting, the TCs were shown to have sufficient mechanical strength in terms of bursting pressure (2382 ± 129 mmHg), and suture retention strength (SRS: 1.97 ± 0.49 N). The AV grafts were harvested at 1 or 2 months after grafting. In an ex vivo whole blood perfusion system, the lumen of the vascular grafts was shown to be less thrombogenic compared to the initial TCs and ePTFE grafts. At 8 weeks after grafting, the entire graft was covered with an endothelial layer and abundant elastin expression was present throughout the graft. Patency at 1 and 2 months was comparable with ePTFE AV-grafts. In conclusion, we demonstrate the remodeling capacity of cellularized in vivo engineered TEBVs, and their potential as autologous alternative for prosthetic vascular grafts.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|